August 24, 1998
Mr. Ron Herbert
Eastern New York Correctional Facility
Napanoch, NY 12458-0338
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions.
The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your
Dear Mr. Herbert:
I have received your recent undated letter, which reached this office on August 21.
Having reviewed the correspondence attached to it, I believe that the issues raised in that
letter were extensively considered in an opinion rendered on August 19.
While I do not believe that it is necessary to reiterate the content of or advice rendered
in that opinion, since one of the requests for records involves the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, I note that neither New York nor New Jersey has the ability to impose its
laws beyond its borders. As you may be aware, §86(3) of the Freedom of Information Law
defines the term "agency" to mean:
"any state or municipal department, board, bureau, division,
commission, committee, public authority, public corporation,
council, office or other governmental entity performing a
governmental or proprietary function for the state or any one
or more municipalities thereof, except the judiciary or the state
In a case involving the application of the New York Freedom of Information Law to the
Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which is a bi-state agency, it was held in
Metro-ILA Pension Fund v. Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (Supreme Court,
New York County, NYLJ, December 16, 1986) that "[a]n interstate agency is created by
interstate compact, and New York may not impose its preferences with respect to freedom
of information on the other party to the compact." Therefore, it was held that "the
Waterfront Commission is not an 'agency' subject to New York's Freedom of Information
Law." In short, I do not believe that the Port Authority is subject to the Freedom of
As you requested, the materials attached to your letter are being returned to you.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman