Mayor de Blasio used his NYPD security detail inappropriately to move his daughter's belongings from her apartment to Gracie Mansion, chauffeur his son Dante to and from Yale University while also driving him within the five boroughs, and has failed to reimburse the city for nearly $320,000 in expenses connected to utilizing the detail during his presidential campaign trips, according to a scathing Department of Investigation report.
It also found that the commanding officer of the security detail, Inspector Howard Redmond, "actively obstructed and sought to thwart this investigation, frustrating DOI's efforts to learn the full facts regarding these investigations. Inspector Redmond had 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."
The Mayor's chief spokeswoman, Danielle Filson, denounced the report saying, "Intelligence and security experts should decide how to keep the Mayor and his family safe, not civilian investigators. This unprofessional report purports to do the NYPD's job for them, but with none of the relevant expertise—and without even interviewing the official who heads intelligence for the city."
Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett fired back, telling the Daily News, "I don't think that a Mayor who's interested in an effective and independent DOI would be saying that about our work."
It was not the first time the Mayor heatedly clashed with the city's watchdog agency over a report critical of him or his administration. Five years ago, he and aides including his First Deputy Mayor at the time were criticized by DOI for their conduct in allowing a property that had long been used for health care, most recently as a hospice for people with AIDS, to be sold with a change in its deed that allowed it to be used for other purposes. resulting in a windfall profit for a buyer who quickly resold it to a developer for condominiums.
Besides improperly using at least one member of the security detail and an NYPD sprinter van to move his daughter's belongings from her apartment to Gracie Mansion, the 47-page report said the detail ferried Dante de Blasio between home and college without either the Mayor or First Lady Chirlane McCray in the vehicle, as well as taking him to various city locations, including train and bus stations.
The probe also "found numerous instances when the Mayor's security detail transported mayoral staffers to various locations, including to their homes, and transported them when running errands for the Mayor." It also drove guests of Mr. de Blasio places without his being present in the vehicle.
And, DOI found, for roughly a 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."
During his unsuccessful run for President that began in May 2019 and concluded four months later, DOI discovered that besides traveling with the Mayor to numerous states that had early primaries and caucuses, "the security detail occasionally transported Mayor de Blasio's campaign staffers while driving the Mayor. Both reflect a use of NYPD resources for political purposes."
Appealing $320G Tab
Ms. Filson told The News that "the question of who should pay for NYPD expenses" during that presidential run was currently under appeal with the city Conflicts of Interest Board.
DOI stated that in addition to Inspector Redmond's attempts to block its probe, "At the root of nearly all these issues is the complete lack of any written policies or procedures at the NYPD for the operation of the mayoral security detail. Because it does not exist, neither the NYPD nor, as far is 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."