Nonprofit Law/FOIL Request


QUESTION: I am trying to request documentation (sign in log) of my building which has camera's. I am in need of the sign in book showing the time & date he/she entered my photo's showing that the process server did serve my door at a particular time & date only one time. My building is a non profit organization.

ANSWER: As for your New York state law on Open Records and Open Meetings, the
Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press has that at

specifically read at 1.B.4.a Open Records for "Nongovernmental
bodies receiving public funds or benefits" and the sections B5-B7
nearby have the applicable discussion. If none of those apply to
the organization, then the state open records law does not apply
to the organization.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.    

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I just want to know if I am entitled to the information 1 the sign in book and the camera photos or one or the other

Section 1.B has:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
The FOIL requires disclosure of all records (exclusive of those falling within the ambit of a statutory exemption) which are held by an "agency." N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 87(2) (McKinney 1988). "Agency" is defined 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 legislature." N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 86(3) (McKinney 1988); Weston v. Sloan, 201 A.D.2d 778, 779, 607 N.Y.S.2d 478 (3d Dep't 1994), modified, 84 N.Y.2d 462, 643 N.E.2d 1071, 619 N.Y.S.2d 255 (the Legislature is not an agency and, therefore, Public Officers Law 87 is inapplicable, however, legislative documents may be obtained under section 88).
--- End of Excerpt ---
It appears that the law would not apply to that nonprofit as it is not a governmental "agency".

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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