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Village, attorneys in tussle over former mayor's emails

Apr 11, 2017 7:15 am

Brenda J. Lyons is reporting in the Times Union the Glens Falls law firm of FitzGerald Morris Baker Firth and the village of Hoosick Falls are fighting over the former village mayor's emails. FitzGerald Morris has delayed turning over those records despite continuing requests. The firm took possession of the emails belonging to former Mayor David Borge, who for many years used a private gmail account for public business, which, the paper noted, is not improper. The account contains an estimated 13,000 emails. The records related to Borge's work as mayor are a matter of public record and must be kept on file by the village. Current Mayor Rob Allen corresponded with the firm's managing partner Fri., Apr. 7, threatening to take legal action on behalf of the village if the electronic records were not released by the close of business that day. The law firm has represented the village since late 2015 in negotiations with two companies blamed for polluting the village water supplies. The firm is also screening the village's responses to Freedom of Information Law requests, including some seeking Borge's emails. In a recent response to a FOIL request filed by the Times Union, the firm declined to release many of its communications with the two companies blamed for polluting the village water supplies. Many of the emails released had significant sections blacked out. The decision to conceal portions of the emails is improper under the law, according to the state Committee on Open Government. The village board is currently without independent legal representation. Last month, the law firm of the village's longtime attorney, John R. Patterson, Jr., was acquired by FitzGerald Morris. Patterson's contract as the village's attorney expired March 31. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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