The New York City Department of Investigation issued a report Thursday morning determining that Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to reimburse the city for travel costs during his 2019 presidential campaign and that police resources were misused during his daughter’s move from her apartment to Gracie Mansion.
In the 47-page report, investigators note that the mayor made around 21 individual trips to different locations during his run for president, “totaling approximately 60 days, in whole or in part, of travel.” At times, security staff traveled to destinations ahead of de Blasio, which resulted in more travel expenses.
“In the course of this investigation, DOI found that the NYPD paid approximately $319,794.20 for Mayor de Blasio’s security detail to travel outside of New York City on his Campaign trips,” the report reads. That amount included costs related to hotels, flight, gas, rental cars, and meals but not salary or overtime expenses for the detail.
The report specifies that the figure includes two trips taken by Chirlane McCray, the mayor’s wife, and her security detail. Those trips resulted in $7,981.37 of travel costs. The DOI indicated that, to this day, the city of New York “has not been reimbursed for these expenditures.”
The DOI’s report also looks into the mayor’s daughter, Chiara de Blasio, and the 2018 move from her Brooklyn apartment to Gracie Mansion. The agency determined that several members of McCray’s security detail were present at the time of the move and that an NYPD sprinter van was used to transport some of de Blasio’s belongings, including a futon. The report even mentions that one of the members of the security detail helped to lift the futon at one point. In its summary, the DOI calls the use of the van and the assistance of members of the police in moving furniture “a misuse of NYPD resources for a personal benefit, whether it was requested or merely accepted.”
Investigators noted that members of the NYPD’s Executive Protection Unit transported Dante de Blasio, the mayor’s son, “on numerous occasions,” including to locations throughout the city but also between the city and Yale University, which he attended. Several detectives recalled transporting de Blasio to the university or to locations in New York City without either of his parents being present.
The agency accused Inspector Howard Redmond, who oversees the Executive Protection Unit, of seeking to “obstruct this investigation” by refusing to hand over his City Hall cell phone, trying to destroy his Police Department cell phone, and “deleting all communications from both phones before they could be provided to DOI.”
As a result of its findings, the DOI issued a number of recommendations, including having the NYPD collect and maintain records of travel expenses for the mayor’s security detail and suggesting changes to the message-retention policy in the mayor’s office.
Danielle Filson, de Blasio’s press secretary, issued a statement criticizing the report.
“This unprofessional report purports to do the NYPD’s job for them, but with none of relevant experience — and without even interviewing the official who heads intelligence for the City,” Filson said. “As a result, we are left with an inaccurate report, based on illegitimate assumptions and a naïve view of the complex security challenges facing elected officials today.”