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N.Y. City mayor misused security detail for personal benefit, watchdog says By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Bill de Blasio is a former Democratic U.S. Presidential nominee and New York City Mayor. He speaks together with Chirlane Mcray during a news conference, after declaring that he had decided to end his bid for New York. This was September 20, 2019. RE

Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio misused his security detail for his personal tasks including moving his daughter and transporting his son to college. A watchdog agency claimed on Thursday that the actions were similar to a concierge service.

Additionally, it stated that the mayor had not reimbursed the city for security costs related to the presidential campaign of his opponent.

The city’s Department of Investigation (DOI), a 47-page document, found that Chiara de Blasio moved from Brooklyn to the Gracie Mansion with the help of a van and members the protective police detail. Investigators discovered that Dante de Blasio (the mayor’s child) was driven by members of the detail to and from Yale University, Connecticut. They also took him to other destinations in the city.

The mayor’s spokeswoman said in a statement that he hadn’t ordered his security detail members to do anything except for his children.

Danielle Filson was the spokesperson and accused investigators of failing to consult security specialists at New York City Police Department.

“We are now left with an inaccurate and misleading report, which is based upon illegitimate assumptions, and a simplistic view of complex security problems facing elected officials today,” she stated.

According to the report, the mayor and his police inspector who was in charge of the detail told investigators that children had the right to protection.

However, Margaret Garnett, DOI commissioner, stated to reporters that the police department of the city did not determine whether Dante de Blasio’s children were in “legitimate security need” prior to providing help. According to Garnett, the transportation of Dante de Blasio by detail appeared to be nothing more than “concierge services.”

She stated, “It’s either not good security or it isn’t good government or both.”

Report also found that the city spent nearly $320,000 to allow members of de Blasio’s security detail to accompany him on campaign travels in 2019.

The city’s conflict of interest board had already heard from the mayor’s office that he felt his campaign was not entitled to be forced into paying for these costs.

De Blasio is not able to run this year for reelection because of term limits. However, he may be considering running for New York governor in the future.

DOI examines the city government and how it uses public money.

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