Although the city’s paying for the lawyers is legal, civic activists in the borough say that the embattled mayor — who has personally hired a lawyer paid in campaign funds to represent himself— should not be relying on public funds to pay for the attorneys.
“It’s another example of the mayor wasting taxpayer money,” Juniper Park Civic Association President Bob Holden told the Chronicle. “He’s done it on so many other issues. It really seems almost unethical.”
Queens Civic Congress Executive Vice President Richard Hellenbrecht recalled another scandal-tarnished lawmaker who used public funds on attorneys while he was being probed.
“Look at Chris Christie over in New Jersey, who spent a couple of million dollars in taxpayer money fighting the Bridgegate situation,” he said. Christie, however, had taxpayers foot the bill for his own criminal defense lawyer, unlike de Blasio.
“I think that money should go for things the city needs,” Community Board 8 Chairwoman Martha Taylor, who is also a member of the Jamaica Estates Association, said. She added that the money could go toward “improvement or maintenance” work.
It is possible that the public’s footing the bills in situations like the de Blasio administration’s could be banned eventually. State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said he would “look into” legislation prohibiting the practice.
The Queens lawmaker, who will not re-endorse de Blasio for re-election, has heard complaints from constituents not happy about public dollars going to pricey attorneys.