Mayor de Blasio has decided to “let” taxpayers foot most of the $2.3 million bill he owes the lawyers who defended him in probes that found he’d intervened on behalf of donors seeking favors from City Hall.
After months of insisting he would never ask the public to pay what he owed, the mayor put up a brief explanation of his reversal on Medium.com early Friday entitled “Our Legal Bills.”
He revealed that “after giving this a great deal of thought,” he’s decided the city will pay $2 million for legal work “tied to my government service.”
Another $300,000 in legal work he said is related to his non-governmental service will come from private donors via an as-yet-to-be created legal defense fund.
From 2016 through March, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, the Manhattan District Attorney and the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics investigated de Blasio’s fund-raising activities.
On March 16 the U.S. Attorney and DA both announced they had closed their investigations without finding evidence of criminal culpability against de Blasio or his aides.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, however, made clear that he did find evidence that de Blasio and his aides “solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City.” In turn, Kim noted, “the mayor made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of those donors.”
De Blasio raised $4.3 million for a nonprofit Campaign For One New York that promoted his causes. The News found at least $3 million came from entities seeking favors from City Hall.