Recently-departed, term-limited former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used NYPD for security on the presidential campaign trail but won’t commit to repayment of the funds. De Blasio has avoided saying when he’ll repay taxpayers the money he spent on security services for his failed presidential campaign despite leaving office on January 1.
The outstanding debt stems from de Blasio’s use of the New York Police Department as his security detail during his short-lived campaign, with money that was paid for by taxpayers. According to the City’s Department of Investigation (DOI), de Blasio also owes hundreds of thousands to a law firm for debts he racked up from probes into his fundraising practices. As yet, de Blasio has yet to respond to inquiries asking when he plans to repay taxpayer money.
Meanwhile, the former mayor is dropping money into personal home renovations to consider a possible gubernatorial run. “Mayor de Blasio earned the reputation as one of the worst majors in New York City history, and this is one of many reasons why,” according to Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz. “Using the taxpayers’ money, not paying back money that he owed for security for his presidential campaign, and simply not taking care of the city.”
Taxpayers in the City paid the cash to cover his security detail on his failed 2019 presidential campaign, despite rules stating city resources cannot go toward political endeavors. De Blasio used Executive Protection Unit (EPU) members who acted as his bodyguards in the City and protected him on the campaign trail. The City reported that de Blasio had secretly asked if taxpayers could cover the bill.
Scathing report critical of de Blasio’s use of funds
New York City’s DOI released a scathing report blasting de Blasio over the setup, amongst other alleged exploits. “DOI determined that the City of New York expended $319,794 for the members of Mayor de Blasio’s security detail to travel on the Mayor’s presidential campaign trips,” according to the report. “Mayor de Blasio has not reimbursed the City for these expenses, either personally or through his campaign.”
In addition, according to the investigations department, EPU members transported de Blasio’s campaign staffers on campaign trips as they chauffeured the former governor to and from events. “Both reflect a use of NYPD resources for political purposes,” stated the report. “In addition, DOI learned that, for approximately one year, the security detail has been conducting frequent security checks at houses owned by the Mayor in Brooklyn, where neither he nor his family members currently reside.”
Federal Election Commission records show that de Blasio has not used his presidential campaign funds to pay the bill due to a lack of funds. According to campaign finance records, De Blasio’s committee had just $4,731 cash in hand and $67,371.90 in debts. The campaign disbursed just $13,481.35 for legal and software, and compliance services during the first nine months of the year. The debt for the security detail is not de Blasio’s only debt owed. The former mayor owed $300,000 to a law firm in records through Nov. 2021. The bills stem from a 2017 probe into whether de Blasio and his aides provided special favors for donors.
When asked, de Blasio said he has no plans to pay the debt out of pocket because he does not have the funds. Instead, he said he intends to rely on contributions to pay off the debt. “I hope you know enough about me by now to say I do not have a lot of extra resources kicking around. I’m not like my predecessor. So, I would have to raise the money. But I will, over time, and I will pay it off.”
Sources report that some political insiders believe de Blasio is eyeing a run for governor in an attempt to help pay down his over $2.5 million in debts he accrued during his eight years as mayor of New York City.