NEW YORK — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office worked behind the scenes to help the organizers of a mosque and community center near ground zero, intervening with city administrators to get a temporary prayer service permit and having an official ghostwrite a letter to community leaders.
E-mails released by the city Thursday document the cooperation between Bloomberg's Community Affairs Unit and the Cordoba Initiative, even as a furor erupted this year over the center's proposed existence two blocks north of ground zero. The city released the documents in response to a public-records lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative group.
Bloomberg's spokesman said the city has extended similar help to other religious groups. But Judicial Watch says the e-mails show the city government went too far with its assistance.