October 7, 2021
By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s security detail was misused for personal tasks, including helping his daughter move and shuttling his son to and from college, a watchdog agency said on Thursday, likening the actions to a “concierge service.”
It also said the mayor has not paid back the city for more than $300,000 in security expenses related to his presidential campaign.
In a 47-page report, the city’s department of investigation (DOI) found that a police van and members of the mayor’s protective police detail aided Chiara de Blasio’s move from her Brooklyn apartment to the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion. Investigators also found that members of the detail drove Dante de Blasio, the mayor’s son, between the city and Yale University in Connecticut, as well as transporting him to destinations within the city.
A spokeswoman for the mayor in a statement said he had never ordered members of his detail to do anything for his children and that they had provided security as advised by police officials.
The spokeswoman, Danielle Filson, faulted investigators for failing to consult with security experts at the New York City Police Department.
“As a result, we are left with an inaccurate report, based on illegitimate assumptions and a naive view of the complex security challenges facing elected officials today,” she said.
The mayor and the police inspector in charge of his detail both told investigators that the children were entitled to protection, according to the report.
But DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett told reporters that the city’s police department did not assess whether the mayor’s children had “legitimate security needs” before providing assistance. The detail’s transportation of Dante de Blasio, she said, appeared to be little more than a “concierge service.”
“Either it’s not good security, or it’s not good government, or it’s both,” she said.
The city also spent close to $320,000 so members of de Blasio’s security detail could accompany him on campaign trips in 2019, when he briefly ran for president, the report found.
The mayor’s office previously filed an appeal with the city’s conflicts of interest board, arguing his campaign should not be forced to pay for such costs.
De Blasio, who cannot run for reelection this year due to term limits, is reportedly considering a run for New York governor next year.
The DOI investigates city government, including the use of public money.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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