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Queens DA’s Personal Use of Security Detail Reminiscent of DeBlasio’s Misuse  

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By: Ellen Cans

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz reportedly used her publicly funded security detail to help her move.

As reported by the NY Post, the potential misuse of taxpayer-funded security detail is reminiscent of former Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose actions resulted in a city Department of investigation probe.  In October a probe against de Blasio found that he had used the Executive Protection Unit to perform “errands” for him and his family.  Errands included chauffeuring his son and helping his daughter move.  The DOI report, led by former head Margaret Garnett, revealed that an NYPD van was used to move his daughter, Chiara de Blasio, in 2018 from her Brooklyn apartment into Gracie Mansion.  Furthermore, the Executive Protection unit was utilized as “essentially a concierge service,” for the mayor’s adult son, Dante de Blasio, Garnett had said.  “It’s no way to run a railroad,” she said during a press conference following the release of the investigation.

Also, de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, had used the detail to transport personal items while she was First Lady– an act that the investigation called a “misuse of NYPD resources for a personal benefit”. The DOI’s 49-page investigation revealed that the NYPD spent roughly $320,000 in 2019 to follow de Blasio on his failed presidential campaign trail, as well as a trip to a Red Sox game in Los Angeles.

The investigation concluded that de Blasio’s actions had resulted in “potential violations of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Law, lapses in best practices, corruption vulnerabilities, and inefficient uses of public resources.”   De Blasio had replied at the time commenting that the report contained “inconsistencies” and “inaccuracies”, though he didn’t pinpoint any specific errors.  De Blasio had also griped that city investigators did not interview Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller, who heads the department’s intelligence, counter-terrorism and public affairs divisions.

“When you see a pattern of conduct and a culture that public resources are available for your personal benefit, that’s incredibly destabilizing to good government, it’s not a good use of the public’s money,” Garnett had responded to de Blasio’s complaints.

Mayor de Blasio is currently running for a seat in the House.  The former mayor hopes to capitalize on the newly redrawn maps, and gain a congressional seat representing the new 10th district, including Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.  Veteran Rep. Jerrold Nadler, announced he would be vacating his seat, after the Upper West Side neighborhood was detached from his district.  He opted to step out rather than compete against fellow Democrat and longtime ally Rep. Carolyn Maloney in her newly redrawn 12th District.

“Our neighborhoods need help as we recover from COVID. Our nation needs help as democracy is threatened and working people struggle,” de Blasio had tweeted last month, after he announced he would be running for the seat.  “I am ready to serve to continue the fight against inequality,” the former mayor added. “Today I am forming an Exploratory Committee for the new #NY10.”

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