Score one for the watchdogs.

The fiscal-watchdog group the Empire Center had sued the MTA after it refused to produce its 2014 payroll data for months despite a FOIL request. But the MTA recently caved and has now settled out of court, agreeing to not only open its books but pay its foe’s $2,860 in legal fees.

Empire Center Executive Director Tim Hoefer said he wished that the agency had just filled the request in the first place and saved taxpayers money.

“The $2,680 check the MTA wrote to the Empire Center doesn’t sound like much in the context of the MTA’s $16.5 billion budget — but it nonetheless translates into nearly 1,000 basic transit fares,” he said.

“We’re confident the agency has learned a lesson here; even more important, an important signal has been sent to other New York government agencies.”

The MTA blamed its tortoiselike behavior on computer glitches.

“The MTA has always provided payroll data to FOIL [petitioners] such as the Empire Center, and we always will,” said agency spokesman Adam Lisberg. “We ran into some computer problems while processing tens of thousands of payroll records. But this is of course public information, and the Empire Center of course received it as soon as possible.”

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