Chalkbeat thought that it would be interesting to gain access to the email correspondence of Success Academy Network to find out how they handled the Dan Loeb crisis. It’s reporter filed a Freedom of Information request. Dan Loeb is the billionaire who is chairman of the SA board who made a racist comment, writing that the leading African American legislator in the State Senate did more damage to black children than the KKK.

The SA Network refused to release any records because they are private, not public. Public records laws don’t apply to them, they said.

Thus, they are public only for getting money, but private when it’s time for accountability and transparency. Accountability and transparency, it turns out, are for the little people.

Chalkbeat writes:

“Success Academy Charter Schools, Inc. (SACS) is a private nonprofit organization that provides services to charter schools, but it is not itself a charter school or a government agency under FOIL,” wrote Success Academy lawyer Robert Dunn in response to an appeal of a Chalkbeat request for Moskowitz’s emails under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, which the network had denied. “Thus, it is not in and of itself subject to FOIL or required to have an appeal process.”

“In addition, Success officials said the emails would not need to be released because they qualify as internal communications that are exempt from the public-records law.

“The city’s most prominent charter school networks — including KIPP and Uncommon — have similar CMO structures, which appears to shield their leaders from at least some FOIL requests. While “the KIPP NYC public charter schools themselves are subject to the New York Freedom of Information Law,” KIPP spokesperson Steve Mancini said in an email, the “CMOs are not.”

“But some government-transparency advocates argue that the law is not so clear cut.

“Because CMOs are so heavily involved in the operation of public schools, it could be argued that the vast majority of their records are kept on behalf of public schools and should be public, said Bob Freeman, executive director of the Committee on Open Government and an expert on public-records laws.

“Even though nonprofits aren’t covered by FOIL, he said, “Everything you do for an entity that is subject to FOIL — everything you prepare, transmit, and receive — falls within the scope of FOIL.”