Judge: City Must Surrender Emails About $100M School Donation

A judge ordered Wednesday for the City of Newark to make public 36 emails about the $100 million donation Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made in 2010.


An Essex County Superior Court judge has ordered Newark officials to handover emails about the $100 million donation Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made to the city’s schools in 2010.  

The Wednesday ruling said the city must release 36 emails exchanged between Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Superintendent of Schools Cami Anderson and other public officials about the donation.  

City officials did not immediately repsond to a request for comment Thursday.

The ruling, issued by Judge Rachel Davidson, came after the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey sued the city in August 2011 calling for more transparency about the $100 million pledge. The ACLU sued the city on behalf the Secondary Parent Council, a group of Newark parents. 

The city originally stated it did not have any emails or documents about the grant. However, that argument was rescinded in January 2012 during court hearings. 

The city then argued that the emails were shielded from being released by mayoral executive privilege, and that Booker was not acting as mayor when he accepted Zuckerberg’s donation on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2010. 

Davidson rejected the city’s arguments, nothing there are repeated mentions of Booker touting the grant on both his own and the city’s website. 

“The fact that some of the emails were sent to the mayor using a personal, or perhaps, a campaign-related email address does not exempt them from being considered a public record,” said Davidson in a press release.

Other Patch reports about the Facebook donation and the ACLU-NJ lawsuit:

Mayor to Release Lawsuit Documents

ACLU Claims City, State Officials Continue to Dodge Requests for Documents about $100M Donation

Audrey Lynn Wanich December 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Isnt it publics right to know how the donation is used? Is that the problem here? Or is it a campaign accepting $ issue? Curious how money was used.


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