New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to reimburse taxpayers for nearly $320,000 spent on police security detail during his failed 2019 presidential run, The City reported.
Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett released a scathing report Thursday that detailed de Blasio's use of "NYPD resources for political purposes," The City said.
"The campaign or the mayor personally should have reimbursed the city for those expenses," Garnett said, citing city Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) rulings strictly prohibiting the use of city resources for political purposes.
De Blasio said he had no intention of reimbursing the city.
"The guidance I have received is from the NYPD," said the mayor, who ended his presidential campaign in September 2019 with 1% support in the polls.
"I’ve never received any contradictory guidance."
The DOI report, though, said de Blasio was told by COIB before announcing his presidential campaign that taxpayers should not pick up the tab for his security, The City said.
"That's a violation of those rules," said Garnett, citing that de Blasio charged the city for the use of his detail during four months when he barnstormed across Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, and Chicago.
The City reported that de Blasio, who’s flirting with running for governor, has less than $5,000 in cash remaining in his presidential campaign account, and is running a $156,000 deficit from his 2017 mayoral run.
DOI found that security for de Blasio's weak presidential run cost $319,794 in travel costs such as airfare, meals, and hotels.
Sources told The City that about 10 police officers usually would be assigned to the detail at any given time.
De Blasio's detail during the period also transported City Hall staffers who had taken leaves of absence to work on his campaign. Police told DOI they were unaware the staffers were on leave.
NYPD members sometimes would fly to destinations in advance of the mayor, "incurring additional travel costs," the DOI report noted.
De Blasio secretly asked COIB officials on May 8, 2019, whether the city could foot the entire bill for his security "for the mayor on a political trip" according to correspondence that City Hall released Thursday.
After announcing his candidacy on May 16, 2019, de Blasio received a letter from COIB advising him that the campaign "must pay all the New York City Police Department detail costs except salaries/overtime," The City reported.
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