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Lawyer: Zucaro's missing e-mail recovered


May 10, 2001

WEST PALM BEACH — Commissioner Al Zucaro has turned over all his e-mails pertaining to city business to The Palm Beach Post, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Attorney Steven Sloane Newburgh, who is getting paid up to $10,000 in taxpayer money to represent Zucaro on the public records request, faxed an April 6 e-mail that he said now concludes Zucaro's response to the request.

On Tuesday, Newburgh had said the same thing -- that Zucaro had turned over all e-mails that had been requested under Florida's Public Records Law -- after he released a stack of Zucaro's e-mails to The Post.

But The Post knew of an April 6 e-mail from Commissioner Bill Moss, and it hadn't been included in the batch of e-mails released by Zucaro. When told that it was missing, Zucaro accused The Post of removing the e-mail in an effort to harass him and make him look bad.

Those charges weren't repeated in Newburgh's letter to The Post on Wednesday, but he did say that Zucaro was not responsible for any omission.

"It is reckless to suggest, and malicious as a matter of law, to cause the public to believe that Commissioner Zucaro would conceal an e-mail which you sought," Newburgh wrote.

Newburgh would not return phone calls made to his office Wednesday.

As for the e-mails that were released to The Post, the vast majority dealt with such mundane matters as Zucaro receiving forwarded articles from residents and him setting up meetings with his secretary. In several e-mails, Zucaro criticizes Mayor Joel Daves as ineffectual, which he often does at public meetings.

One e-mail of note was from Zucaro to Nancy Graham inviting the former mayor to the Governor's Club for lunch. During a series of e-mails, Zucaro encourages Graham to oppose a set of design guidelines that accompanied a downtown development initiative by Daves. And during an April meeting, Graham did speak publicly against the guidelines.

"Don't think the Mayor and staff were too thrilled about comments to design guidelines," Graham wrote to Zucaro in an April 3 e-mail. "The Mayor could hardly say anything."

But it was still impossible to tell which e-mail account he used for the messages. Newburgh said Tuesday that he would find out why the e-mail addresses weren't attached, but he did not answer that question on Wednesday.

By Michael Van Sickler, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Copyright © 2001, The Palm Beach Post.


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