Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has spent almost one-quarter of a million dollars on various expenses, such as food and travel, in the last five years, according to documents obtained by The City in a Freedom of Information Act request.
By: Harry Cherry
Mr. Vance reportedly paid for a $4,780 roundtrip flight to London with funds gathered through New York state’s asset forfeiture program.
Mr. Vance outspent District Attorneys from the other boroughs, including Bronx DA Darcel Clark, who has only spent $18,407 over the last five years. Queens DA Richard Brown spent $13,766 over the last five years and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez has spent $3,691 over the same period of time.
Mr. Vance told The City that all of the travel and expenses were necessary to attend various events covering cybersecurity and gun control, among other things.
“I can’t look at my defensive perimeter as the southern and northern tip of Manhattan,” he told the news outlet which officially launched on Wednesday. “It requires an international approach and international partnerships and relationships to do the work that we do.”
Financial experts, however, told The City that there is very little oversight into how District Attorneys use funds from the state’s asset forfeiture program.
“There’s very little transparency when it comes to how the DAs use state asset forfeiture funds,” Bernard O’Brien, a financial analyst with New York City’s independent budget office, told The City.
Mr. Vance spent a total of $2,816 during a four-night stay at the Hotel d’Aubusson in Paris. The hotel is a short walk from the Louvre, the Sorbonne and the Odéon Theatre, among other landmarks in Paris, according to its website.
He also paid $994 for a two-night stay at the Ned Hotel in London. A graphic on its website described The Ned as a “historic building reborn in the heart of the city,” and touts its “bedrooms with a nod to 1920s glamour,” while boasting the fact that the hotel has 10 restaurants under its roof.
Mr. Vance, who was paid a salary of $212,800 last year, told The City in a statement that he doesn’t have any specific policy on types of flights he takes — whether coach, business, or first class. “There’s no rule that I set out on the flying,” he told The City, while apparently noting that he normally takes Coach on domestic flights.
Mr. Vance certainly doesn’t miss the chance to splurge on fine dinings, as he once paid $645 for a dinner at Patroon on East 46th Street with French officials on Nov. 14, 2017, according to records obtained by The City.
The French officials who attended that dinner were in town to attend the Financial Crimes and Cybersecurity Symposium, which was being held by Mr. Vance’s office.
Documents also show that Mr. Vance picked up the tab while dining out in Paris. He spent $169 at Le Christine, $124 at Marco Polo, $94 at Le Nemrod, and $72 at Le Saint Regis — all of which are restaurants in Paris.