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Group sues to get NY records on TV ads aimed at employers

ALBANY — A conservative good-government group is suing the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a fight for records concerning television ads aimed at attracting employers to New York.

The lawsuit was brought Tuesday by the nonprofit Reclaim New York. The group said the state Empire State Development agency repeatedly has delayed requests for economic development records involving a $246 million TV blitz.

Rebekah Mercer, Reclaim’s chairman and treasurer, is the daughter of prominent conservative donor Robert Mercer of East Setauket.

Reclaim New York is seeking state records involving the costs, strategy and effectiveness of what it calls flashy TV ads that boast that the state is a new magnet for companies.

The group said it took Empire State Development six months to release a contract with a TV production company, while saying its request for other documents will take longer.

Empire State Development spokesman Jason Conwall said much of the information sought by Reclaim New York has been included in public reports to the State Legislature.

“ESD has run ads both in-state and out-of-state for many years, as we work to attract new businesses while ensuring New York companies understand what is available from the state to help grow their business,” Conwall said.

“The only one playing politics here is this shadowy, Mercer-funded, ultra right-wing front masquerading as a good government group,” Conwall said.

In its lawsuit, Reclaim New York also seeks to force the Cuomo administration to pay its legal fees in the case. Cuomo signed a bill into law last month that could force governments to pay legal fees if they unreasonably deny records.

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