Nov. 4, 2015: The Putnam County legislature approves a lease for 6,000 square feet at the Butterfield development in Cold Spring for a senior center contingent on $500,000 donation by Roger and Elizabeth Ailes. The document is not released.
May 3: The legislature approves a 15-year lease and a charitable agreement with the Ailes. The documents are not released.
July 8: David McKay Wilson of The Journal News files a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for a copy of the Butterfield lease and the charitable agreement.
July 15: Deputy County Attorney Anna Diaz denies Wilson’s request, citing Section 87(2)(c) of the FOIL law, which states that “an agency can deny access to records that if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards.”
Aug. 2: After The Journal News reveals details of the charitable agreement, Roger and Elizabeth Ailes withdraw their pledge.
Aug. 16: Steve Laifer of Cold Spring files a FOIL request for the May 3 lease.
Aug. 19: The Journal News posts a leaked version of the May 3 lease.
Sept. 6: The legislature approves an amended lease and an $800,000 bond. Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino says the approved (but not yet signed) lease is protected by “attorney-client privilege.” Legislative counsel Clement Van Ross disputes this, saying a resolution passed by the legislature is a public record.
Sept. 14: Legislators approve an amended lease. It is not released.
Sept. 19: The Current files a FOIL request for the amended lease.
Sept. 20: Diaz “approves” Laifer’s request by sending him the Aug. 19 Journal News article.
Sept. 21: Jan Thacher of Cold Spring files a FOIL request for the lease.
Sept. 26: Diaz replies to The Current request with a form letter stating that she is “in the process of locating the requested records,” which could take up to 20 business days.
Oct. 4: After Nacerino says at the legislature’s monthly meeting that the lease has been signed by County Executive MaryEllen Odell and sent to the developer, a reporter for The Current asks if the lease is now public record. Nacerino replies that The Current must file a FOIL request. After Van Ross interjects that a FOIL is not necessary, the legislative clerk says she will email a copy of the lease to the paper in the morning.
Oct. 5: No email arrives. At 3:15 p.m., the clerk calls to say that, according to the county attorney, the paper must file a FOIL request.