Between 2011 and 2015, New York ran television ads and other advertising campaigns for programs such as Taste NY, START-UP NY and “New York State of Opportunity.” The commercials and catchphrases were developed and bought through a contract between Empire State Development (ESD) and BBDO USA LLC.

On July 17, 2017, Reclaim New York (Reclaim) sent four Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to ESD for records related to this contract to better understand how $246.5 million was spent under the contract. Reclaim sought to obtain copies of the contract, invoices, certificates of purchase plans, and work reports between ESD and BBDO from the start of the contract in 2011 through 2015.

The requests were repeatedly delayed, and ESD failed to offer specific reasons for delaying, often taking until the last possible second to extend its response dates. In response to ESD’s repeated delays and constructive denials of the FOIL requests, the Government Justice Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Reclaim to compel disclosure of the ESD/BBDO records.

As of the date of the lawsuit, only the BBDO contract had been disclosed, which ESD provided almost six months after Reclaim made its original request.

Click here to read the full complaint, the plaintiff’s memorandum of law, the respondent’s affirmation in support of cross-motion to dismiss, the respondent’s memorandum of law and the plaintiff’s memorandum of law in opposition.