Ex-NYC Mayor Hit With Substantial Fine

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) was ordered to repay nearly half a million dollars in misused public funds and fines. The decision by New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) determined that the former mayor misappropriated the funds as part of his 2020 campaign for president.

According to the COIB, the former mayor used city tax dollars to fund his official security detail’s travel costs during his brief presidential bid. This included the costs of lodging, travel, food and car rentals. De Blasio was ordered to repay New York City almost $320,000 on top of another $155,000 fine. This amount is reportedly the largest fine ever issued by the board.

De Blasio’s short campaign lasted four months in 2019 prior to exiting the race.

The former candidate received counsel from the COIB that the city’s government could pay for the salary and overtime costs of the officers on his security detail, but not the other travel expenses. Despite this, de Blasio’s 31 out-of-state trips racked up nearly $320,000 in additional travel expenditures.

The COIB stated that “there is no City purpose in paying for the extra expenses incurred by that NYPD security detail to travel at a distance from the City to accompany the Mayor or his family on trips for his campaign for President of the United States.”

De Blasio did not accept the ethics panel’s ruling. Instead, he tweeted a statement from his attorneys, arguing that it was unconstitutional. He said that it was a “reckless and arbitrary ruling” which “threatens the safety and security of our democratically-elected public servants.”

“With today’s decision, the COIB has broken with decades of NYPD policy and precedent, ignored the professional expertise of the greatest law enforcement agency in the world, and violated the Constitution to boot,” it said.

Following the defeat in the 2020 Democratic Party primary, the two-term mayor sought a seat in Congress. However, following poor polling, de Blasio announced that he was dropping out of the 2022 contest and exiting politics.

He said that the voters of New York’s 10th congressional district were “looking for another option and I respect that.”