State Watch

Watchdog: De Blasio misused security detail for personal benefit

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has repeatedly misused his security detail for personal and political benefit, a city watchdog said in a report released on Thursday.

In the report, New York’s Department of Investigation (DOI) identified eight instances in which de Blasio requested security detail to transport some of his guests, including his brother, without himself present. 

The report also claimed that the city had incurred close to $320,000 for security expenses during de Blasio’s failed 2020 presidential campaign. 

“Mayor de Blasio has not reimbursed the City for these expenses, either personally or through his campaign. DOI also found that, during these campaign trips, EPU [executive protection unit] members occasionally transported Mayor de Blasio’s campaign staffers while driving the Mayor. Both reflect a use of NYPD resources for political purposes,” it said.

The watchdog also said that de Blasio’s children used the detail at various points, including to assist Chiara de Blasio’s move from her apartment in Brooklyn to Gracie Manson. The report also said that security detail had been used to transport the mayor’s son, Dante de Blasio, from New York to New Haven, Conn., where he was attending college, in addition to instances in which he was transported throughout the city.

“It’s not security,” DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, according to The Daily News. “It’s essentially a concierge service.”

Responding to the findings, de Blasio said during a press conference on Thursday that he had acted in good faith and criticized the report for not including comment from John Miller, the deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism for the New York Police Department, or other top security experts with the NYPD.

“I have for eight years, every day, tried to do to my level best — what I believe is in the best interest in New York City. The things we talked about today, the fight against COVID, the efforts we’ve made to bring the city back, the fight against crime,” de Blasio said.

“I’ve devoted myself to this, I’ve tried to put everything I had into it and do always what I think’s in the best interest in the people. I have acted in good faith, always I followed whatever guidance was given me. I’ve also constantly thought about the impact this is all having on my family and thought about their safety and deferred always to the NYPD, in terms of what’s the right way to address that,” he continued.

De Blasio’s office told The Hill that an appeal has already been filed regarding who should be incurring the bill for de Blasio’s security detail expenses during his presidential campaign stint, adding that a decision has not been made yet.

Miller said on Thursday that there were “some serious misconceptions and inaccuracies” on the report. He emphasized the precedent to take security seriously, saying specifically in regards to de Blasio’s children that “Our watchword has been always to provide as much security as they will accept, even if that is not as much as we would like.”

De Blasio, who is term-limited, has reportedly been saying privately that he plans to run for governor of New York next year, mounting a primary challenge to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

Updated at 6:31 p.m.

Tags Bill de Blasio Kathy Hochul New York New York

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