Mayor Bill de Blasio's office has released hundreds of pages of emails between the mayor, his top aides and Jonathan Rosen, a key unofficial adviser who city officials declared to be an "Agent of the City." NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Jonathan Rosen's influence extends deep inside City Hall in ways more extensive than previously known.
New emails released by the mayor show Rosen is invited to major policy meetings and included in high-level internal discussions.
But while he may be treated like a top City Hall advisor, he is far from an official one. He runs an influential private consulting firm, BerlinRosen, with clients who have business before the city, including powerful real estate firms. And the state now considers some of the work he does to be lobbying.
But that did not stop City Hall from including Rosen in an August 2014 meeting about the mayor's affordable housing agenda. He was the only non-city employee to attend.
Rosen was also asked to come to Gracie Mansion to discuss the city's strategy in Albany.
Government watchdog groups have criticized Rosen's close ties to the mayor and argued he and other outside consultants are part of a shadow city government.
"Jonathan Rosen is someone who I've consulted with for years and years, and we made a legal determination that that was a category that was different," the mayor said on May 18.
Huge portions of emails were redacted. In others, Rosen's ties to private clients proved helpful. He appeared to provide the mayor with the cellphone number for developer Jed Walentas of Two Trees and wrote, "Will you let me know if they connect? Thanks."
He was included in an email discussion with the mayor's campaign fundraiser, Ross Offinger, who sent over a list of business leaders to Rosen and top de Blasio aides. An aide to the mayor responded, "Can we take this off official thread please."
The mayor and his lawyers have argued that Rosen's emails should be shielded from the public because he effectively acts like a city employee, even though he is not one. Any notes exchanged between the mayor and someone outside government are normally presumed to be public documents. But in this case, the city has resisted turning them over.