Fumo's successful move to seal the city permit records is possibly the first time in city history that such public records have been made secret. Fumo is converting the mansion from six apartments into his private residence.
Howard Altman, news editor of the City Paper, said the weekly obtained copies of some of the building permits from unnamed sources. When Fumo learned of it, his lawyers sought the contempt-of-court order against the newspaper, said Altman.
Fumo spokesman Gary Tuma said that when the senator learned the City Paper was ``in illegal possession of the documents,'' a lawyer for Fumo's wife ``put the paper on notice.'' He said it was the City Paper that went to court to unseal the documents.
Fumo had expressed fears that publicity about the new house will compromise the safety of his wife and young son.
``It has cost us thousands of dollars in legal fees,'' said Altman. ``There were eight lawyers in the court arguing.''
Attorney Richard Sprague represents Fumo. Fumo's wife, Jane Scaccetti, was represented by lawyer Robert Scandone.
The legal tussle hasn't stopped the City Paper from publishing what it knows about the house. The cover story of this week's edition is headlined, ``Castle Fumo: Why has Vince Fumo built such a formidable moat around his Green Street mansion in progress?''
Tuma claimed the reporter who wrote the story, Scott Farmelant, is ``trying to manipulate the media to make a name for himself here.''