From: Jobin-Davis, Camille (DOS) 
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:28 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Law


As promised, the following is the provision of the NYC Administrative Code that we discussed:

  §  11-2115  Returns  to be secret. a. Except in accordance with proper
judicial order, or as otherwise provided by law, it  shall  be  unlawful
for the commissioner of finance, register or tax appeals tribunal or any
officer  or  employee  of  the  department  of  finance, register or tax
appeals tribunal to divulge or make known in any manner any  information
contained in or relating to any return provided for by this chapter. The
officers  charged with the custody of such returns shall not be required
to produce any of them or evidence of anything contained in them in  any
action  or proceeding in any court, except on behalf of the commissioner
of finance in an action or  proceeding  under  the  provisions  of  this
chapter,  or on behalf of any party to an action or proceeding under the
provisions of this chapter when the returns or facts shown  thereby  are
directly  involved  in  such  action  or  proceeding, in either of which
events the court may  require  the  production  of,  and  may  admit  in
evidence,  so much of said returns or of the facts shown thereby, as are
pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more. Nothing herein  shall
be  construed to prohibit the delivery to a grantor or grantee of a deed
or to any subsequent owner of the real property conveyed by such deed or
to the duly authorized representative of any of them of a certified copy
of any return filed in connection with the tax  on  such  deed;  nor  to
prohibit  the delivery of such a certified copy of such return or of any
information contained in or relating thereto to  the  United  States  of
America  or  any  department  thereof,  the  state  of  New  York or any
department thereof, the city of  New  York  or  any  department  thereof
provided the same is required for official business; nor to prohibit the
inspection  for  official  business of such returns by the register, the
corporation counsel or other legal representatives of the city or by the
district attorney of any county within the city;  nor  to  prohibit  the
publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification
of particular returns or items thereof.
b.  (1) Any officer or employee of the city who willfully violates the
provisions of subdivision a of this  section  shall  be  dismissed  from
office  and be incapable of holding any public office in this city for a
period of five years thereafter.
(2) Cross-reference: For criminal penalties, see chapter forty of this
c. This section shall be  deemed  a  state  statute  for  purposes  of
paragraph  (a)  of subdivision two of section eighty-seven of the public
officers law.
d. Notwithstanding anything in subdivision a of this  section  to  the
contrary,  if  a  taxpayer  has  petitioned the tax appeals tribunal for
administrative review as provided in section one hundred seventy of  the
charter,  the  commissioner of finance shall be authorized to present to
the tribunal any report or return of such taxpayer, or  any  information
contained therein or relating thereto, which may be material or relevant
to the proceeding before the tribunal. The tax appeals tribunal shall be
authorized  to  publish  a  copy  or  a summary of any decision rendered
pursuant to section one hundred seventy-one of the charter.
e. This section shall not apply to any  information  contained  in  or
relating  to  a  return  filed on or after the first day of January, two
thousand three with respect to a transaction or transfer occurring on or
after that date; provided, however, that this section shall continue  to
apply  to  any social security account number contained in any report or
return pursuant to this chapter.

Please note subsection (e).  In my opinion, this provision removes the confidentiality provisions for documents filed on or after January 2003, except for the release of social security numbers. 
Accordingly, it is my opinion that a copy of the record you have requested, the contract of sale, filed with the RP-5217, should be provided to you.

 I hope it helps.


Camille S. Jobin-Davis, Esq.
Assistant Director
NYS Committee on Open Government
Department of State
(518) 474-2518