After a two-year investigation into the security details of the city’s mayor, the Department of Investigations (DOI) chest A scathing 47-page report this month identified a pattern of inappropriate use of security by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family, which he says amounts to the misuse of public resources for private benefit.
It is estimated that it cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the mayor attacked the results forcefully, calling them “inaccurate” and naive of the security threats he and his family face on a daily basis. But questions about the report have continued to haunt de Blasio, who has survived a previous campaign finance scandal and is said to be exploring race for ruler.
Here are the main points of Report And why are they important?
What prompted the investigation?
The investigation began in August 2019 after allegations of security breaches reported by the media that focused on two issues: how the New York City Police Department provided escort cars to his two children after they were no longer under 24/7 protection, and de Blasio’s use of escorts. From his security guard during his presidential campaign. DOI investigators relied on interviews with the mayor and his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, members of security guards from two NYPD units as well as cell phone records and text messages. They also reached out to federal agencies to determine their best practices for managing security for government officials and preventing abuse.
What are the most harmful consequences?
During a four-month presidential campaign consisting of 21 trips totaling 60 days, investigators concluded that the NYPD paid approximately $319,794.20 for the mayor’s security details to accompany him. However, the report notes that this estimate only includes travel costs such as flights, hotels, car rentals, fuel and meals. It does not include salaries for security personnel or any additional work they incur.
So far, de Blasio has not reimbursed the city for these expenses. Instead, he appealed to the New York City Conflict of Interest Board’s decision stating that he must reimburse these costs.
The report delves into the use of security detail by de Blasio’s two children, Dante and Chiara. reconsider The infamous 2019 incident NYPD helped Chiara, 24 at the time, move from her Brooklyn apartment to Gracie Mansion. McCray told investigators that she was helping her daughter at the time and planning to use her own detailed car. But she said not all properties, including the futon, could fit her. In one of several surprising details, the report says McCray said an NYPD pickup truck “miraculously” arrived to help. Meanwhile, a mayor’s guard said he was instructed by his boss to drive the truck to Kiara’s apartment.
The mayor always maintained that he knew nothing of the move, although cell phone records show a call made from him to his wife during the move.
Meanwhile, Dante used the mayor’s security details to travel to and from Yale University, where he attended college, and to locations within the city, according to the report. Investigators found that after he graduated and beginning around December 2019 or January 2020, he was also pushed by members of the NYPD to his job in Brooklyn. This practice ceased during the spring of 2020, around the time of the pandemic.
Finally, the report cites 34 cases in which Dante de Blasio rode NYPD vehicles without the mayor or first lady present.
Is any of this illegal?
The report does not accuse the mayor of breaking any laws, but notes that the city charter prohibits public officials from using city resources for personal benefit. It also refers to the rules adopted by the Conflicts of Interest Board, which do not allow any use whatsoever of the city’s time or resources for personal gain or political activities.
As a result, the mayor could face fines from the Conflict of Interest Board for ethical violations.
However, there is a potential criminal charge that could emerge – NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond, who is responsible for the mayor’s security, has been referred to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for a possible criminal trial. The report accuses Redman of obstructing the investigation by not responding to multiple requests to turn over investigators to the city council and his cell phones issued by the New York Police. The DOI discovered not only deleted messages that they were able to track on the phones of other security personnel, but also an attempt by Redman to destroy his NYPD issued phone.
The report added that during his interview, Redman showed “a lack of candor, repeatedly claimed that he could not recall facts about matters under his direct supervision, and gave multiple answers that were not credible in light of objective evidence and sworn statements from other witnesses.” .
How did the mayor respond?
“The entire report is riven with inaccurate information,” de Blasio said He said last week On WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show. “There is no comprehensive research. They have not spoken to the officials.”
He has defended his use of his security details for himself and his family by saying the policies were set by the NYPD, not himself. He also noted the increasingly dangerous nature of being a high-ranking elected official. “We know that the charged reality of our policies has created a dynamic where there is much less safety and in fact, families are also trapped in reality and threats can come from anywhere and at any time,” he told reporters.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism John Miller, who was not interviewed by the Department of the Interior, joined the mayor at the news conference and said the department recorded a total of 308 separate threats related to the mayor, including 33 that referred to his family and 14 to his face. selection against his children. In 2020, a police union, the Al-Raqba Charitable Society, I showed Chiara’s personal information on Twitter after she was one of hundreds of protesters arrested during the George Floyd protests.
Regarding his use of his security details while campaigning for the presidency, de Blasio said there is a lot of precedence in elected officials using their own security details without reimbursement. In his appeal letter to the Conflicts of Interest Board, he cited former Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he ran for the US Senate, as well as several conservatives who ran for president, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Who is the DOI Commissioner and what did she say?
Margaret Garnett has held the position of DOI Commissioner, a role that is considered the city’s chief government comptroller, since December 2019. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Attorney General for the State of New York and spent 12 years as a federal attorney general for the Southern District.
Garnett was succeeded by Mark Peters, who led several damning investigations into city agencies, including missed lead paint inspections by the New York City Housing Authority. De Blasio controversially fired Peters, which he later Accused The mayor is trying to suppress his investigations.
During to interview On New York 1, Garnett defended the integrity of its investigation into the mayor’s use of his security details and said the mayor had not yet identified the alleged errors in the report. She spoke of a “pattern of behaviour” in which public resources are made available for the mayor’s personal benefit.
Explaining that corrupt behavior can build up, she added, “You’re resetting a baseline of what is an unacceptable barrier between the personal and the formal, and can only lead to worse things.”
Garnett argued that the “root problem” with the mayor’s security detail was the lack of any written policies or procedures. “Because of its absence, neither the NYPD nor, to the knowledge of the DOI, any other city entity has provided the mayor, his family, or his representatives with any guidance—written or otherwise—on the appropriate or inappropriate uses of security in detail.”
The report is probably a Garnett swan song. On Wednesday, it was announce She will become a Deputy Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. Her last day is the 10th of November.
Will there be any political repercussions?
The mayor continued to face questions this week about the report. But with less than three months left in office, a host of other pressing matters have come to light: his decision to scrap the city’s Gifted and Gifted program, Rikers’ ongoing crisis, the city’s ongoing vaccination efforts and the looming possibility. One of the strictest states.
However, de Blasio made it clear that he intended to stay in public life So the results of the investigation are likely to come out again, especially if he’s campaigning for governor.
“Once a negative signal comes up, it’s hard to beat,” said George Arzt, a political advisor who was former press secretary to Mayor Ed Koch.
He said the report was particularly harmful because the ethical lapses were a “cumulative issue” for de Blasio. Early in his eight-year tenure, he was involved in multiple investigations involving donors and whether they had received special benefits. Ultimately, federal prosecutors and prosecutors did not find criminal wrongdoing, but the scandal will likely be remembered as part of the mayor’s legacy.
Betsy Gottbaum, executive director of Citizens’ Union, a good government group, said New Yorkers should be concerned about a DOI investigation because detailing abusive behavior comes at their expense.
She said she found it surprising that the mayor, a former attorney general, did not know that using his security details while campaigning for another position was a mistake. “If you’re campaigning, you have to pay the price,” she said.
Like many others, including the Democratic candidate for mayor, Eric Adams, she said she had no objection to children taking advantage of the mayor’s security details. But she said she found the findings of the report that the mayor’s security was sometimes sent to pick up indirect family members such as the mayor’s brother. “It’s outside,” she said.