NYPD probe finds NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio misused security detail for personal and political gain
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio misused city resources when he took his NYPD security detail with him during his failed presidential run, at a cost of around $320,000, and by letting his adult son use the detail as a free taxi service, investigators concluded in a report on Thursday.
The city’s Department of Investigation, an independent agency, also said a police van was improperly used to carry a futon when de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, moved from a Brooklyn apartment back to Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence, in August 2018.
The report also accused the head of de Blasio’s detail, Inspector Howard Redmond, trying to obstruct the investigation. DOI officials said at a news conference Thursday that they would refer his case to the Manhattan district attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
During his daily press conference, de Blasio pushed back on the report, saying it contained ‘many, many, inconsistencies and inaccuracies,’ and sought to portray the use of his security detail as necessary amid heightened threats to public officials.
Backing the mayor, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said that he had logged 308 separate threats made against de Blasio, including 33 against his family.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed back against findings of a city Department of Investigation report at his daily news conference that he had misused his NYPD security detail, portraying the use of the unit as necessary amid heightened threats to public officials
The report accused de Blasio’s son Dante (second from right) of using the mayor’s security detail as a free taxi service, and his daughter of using a police van to carry a futon when she moved into the presidential mansion
‘We take the protection of the mayor and the mayor’s family seriously,’ he said.
The report also found that members of the mayor’s security team drove his son, Dante, around town and to and from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dante’s frequent use of officers from the mayor’s security detail for transportation did not arise from any security concern investigators found, ‘but was instead driven solely by a combination of Dante’s preferences and the availability of personnel who were otherwise assigned to the Mayor.’
Both de Blasio children were entitled to full-time protection but declined it as adults, the report said.
The department laid much of the blame for the misuse of the detail on the police department, saying it had no written procedures defining when and how the detail should be used.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said that the use of de Blasio’s security detail was warranted amid a heightened threats to the mayor and his family
de Blasio with his wife Chirlane McCray, and members of his security detail as he spoke about his presidential aspirations in May, 2019
‘At the root of nearly all of these issues is the complete lack of any written policies or procedures at the NYPD for the operation of the mayoral security detail,’ the agency’s report said.
‘Because it does not exist, neither the NYPD nor, as far as DOI is aware, any other City entity provided the Mayor, his family, or his representatives with any guidance – written or otherwise – concerning the appropriate or inappropriate uses of the security detail.’
A spokesperson for the mayor, Danielle Filson, said the Department of Investigation report was ‘based on illegitimate assumptions and a naïve view of the complex security challenges facing elected officials today.’
Investigators found that the mayor had improperly used his police detail when he had them protect him when he ran for president
Protesters gathered outside Good Morning America in May 2019, after he announced his presidential run
‘Intelligence and security experts should decide how to keep the mayor and his family safe, not civilian investigators,’ she said.
The Department of Investigation said that either the mayor or his political campaign should reimburse the New York Police Department for the $319,794 it spent having de Blasio’s security detail travel outside of New York City on 2019 presidential campaign trips.
A message seeking comment was sent to the police department.
De Blasio’s term as mayor ends in December. The Democrat has said he is still interested in public service and is weighing options that could include a run for governor.
The 47-page investigative report was released Thursday morning