De Blasio Misused Security Detail for ‘Political Purposes’ and Personal Tasks: Probe

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
October 8, 2021 Updated: October 8, 2021

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio misused his security detail for “political purposes” during his presidential campaign and for personal tasks, including ferrying his son to and from college and helping his daughter move, according to an investigation by the city Department of Investigation (DOI).

In a 47-page report (pdf) released on Thursday, the DOI found that the mayor’s security team assisted Chiara de Blasio’s move from her apartment in Brooklyn to the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion. According to the report, one member of the security team helped move a futon belonging to the first daughter.

The mayor’s son, Dante de Blasio, was also driven by his security detail to destinations within the city, and between the city and Yale University in Connecticut, the two-year probe found.

“In practice, what is happening is that it’s not security,” said DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett. “It’s essentially a concierge service, primarily for Dante.”

“It’s no way to run a railroad,” she added.

The report also said de Blasio is yet to return to the city more than $300,000 in security expenses related to his presidential bid.

“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. Mayor de Blasio has not reimbursed the City for these expenses, either personally or through his campaign,” the report said.

“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.”

New York City Mayor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill de Blasio leaves a rally against new restrictions on abortion passed by legislatures in eight states including Alabama and Georgia, in New York City, U.S., May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo
New York City Mayor and then-Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio leaves a rally in New York City on May 21, 2019. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

The extensive probe uncovered “potential violations of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Law, lapses in best practices, corruption vulnerabilities, and inefficient uses of public resources,” investigators said.

The DOI referred NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond, the head of de Blasio’s security detail, to the Manhattan district attorney for possible criminal prosecution after investigators alleged that he “actively obstructed and sought to thwart this investigation.”

Investigators say Redmond for months refused to hand over his phone that was issued by the city, attempted to destroy his NYPD phone after being asked to turn it over. He also deliberately sought to destroy official communications that he knew were sought in a DOI investigation and then misled the NYPD’s own attorneys about his compliance with the demand for records, according to the report.

De Blasio in a press briefing pushed back against the report, calling it unfair, unprofessional, and inaccurate while criticizing investigators for failing to interview John Miller, deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the NYPD, in preparing the report.

“I am literally shocked at the number of inaccuracies in this report,” he said.

The mayor was not referred for criminal prosecution, however, the city Conflicts of Interest Board could issue fines, according to Politico.

“I am acting in good faith always. I’ve followed whatever guidance is given me,” de Blasio told reporters.

“The mayor of the city of New York, whether it’s this mayor or any other mayor, is a nationally recognized figure, particularly now in a very brittle political environment in this nation. That comes with its own implicit threat,” Miller added.

The Epoch Times has contacted de Blasio’s office for additional comment.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.