Controversial de Blasio aide Rachel Noerdlinger has taken a leave of absence from her position, less than two months after a DNAinfo investigation revealed her boyfriend’s lengthy rap sheet. The reason for the break, she said after thanking the mayor and Chirlane McCray for their support, is the fallout from her son Khari’s trespassing arrest on Friday night.
“I can handle criticism and scrutiny of me, even when it’s meanspirited — that comes with the territory when you take on the status quo,” she said in a statement. “But increasingly, my son has been subjected to attacks that have nothing to do with the public interest, and everything to do with derailing this administration. I do not want to be a distraction — the work at hand is far too urgent.”
The 44-year-old, who served as chief of staff for McCray, initially came under fire when DNAinfo unearthed her boyfriend Hassaun McFarlan’s past. McFarlan had served time on drug and manslaughter charges and had a tendency to call cops “pigs” on social media. (Noerdlinger regularly liaised with the NYPD as part of her duties.) Mayor de Blasio stood by Noerdlinger at the time, saying that “you don’t fire people because of something their boyfriend said.”
Updated, 11:26 a.m.: Mayor de Blasio described the controversy as “far overblown” and defended Noerdlinger during a press conference Monday.