NY1 went to the municipal archives to take a look at the controversy that erupted when former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani decided to take his papers with him when he left office. NY1’s Michael Scotto filed the following report.
Donald Trump supporter Rudolph Giuliani hammered Hillary Clinton during the presidential race for improperly handling classified information on her private email server.
“She clearly violated the law,” he said in August.
But critics say Giuliani himself has a history of mishandling government documents – not classified material, but records the public has the right to access.
Before leaving office, Giuliani did something unprecedented. He hired a moving company to take 2,000 boxes of his mayoral papers to a Queens warehouse, and then to a private archivist, before transferring them to the city.
“He’s not a man who’s known for trying to be transparent about what he’s doing,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU.
Back then, Giuliani said the city could not properly organize the papers.
Critics wondered whether Giuliani was trying to expunge some of his record. Archivist Richard Lieberman doesn’t think that was Giuliani’s motive, but says the move was a slap to the city.
“We, meaning the municipal archives, has the best staff,” Richard Lieberman said. “They’ve been doing it for decades. They know what they’re doing.
With Giuliani reportedly up for a job as Donald Trump’s secretary of state or head of national intelligence, NY1 searched his archives for records of a diplomatic dust-up when he was mayor, his ouster of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat from Lincoln Center in 1995.
We found only a letter, written by an aide who said Arafat’s removal was based on “principle…not politics.”
But because of the way Giuliani handled his papers, critics say the public will never know if other records that could shed light on the incident were destroyed.
“The fact that Giuliani shipped his papers out will put them under a cloud forever,” Donna Lieberman said.
A Giuliani spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. A law has been passed ensuring no mayor will walk out of City Hall again with records that belong to the public.