de Blasio spends $5 million in taxpayer money for campaign corruption criminal defense

By LOUIS FLORES

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) has spent at least $5.4 million in taxpayer money defending himself and other de Blasio administration officials during criminal investigations examining allegations of corruption.

The revelation of the amount of legal fees spent on outside law firms was noted in a report published by The Wall Street Journal.

Based on the information presented by The Wall Street Journal, approximately $5 million in taxpayer money was paid to the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Another $400,000 was paid to the law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP. The latter law firm represents City officials in the investigation into the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, the former AIDS nursing home in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mayor de Blasio is also represented by the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP regarding the reported investigation into the campaign finance activities of the Campaign for One New York, Mayor de Blasio's nonprofit lobbying arm, according to various press reports. Whilst it was still active, the Campaign for One New York was also represented by the law firm Kantor Davidoff, as was reported by Progress Queens last February.  With the Campaign for One New York now shuttered, it is not know how Mayor de Blasio plans to pay for the legal fees of Kramer Levin.

The campaign finance chair of Mayor de Blasio's 2013 committee to elect, Ross Offinger, is represented by still yet another law firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.  It is not known if Mr. Offinger's legal fees are being indemnified.

The value of city employees' time being spent either investigating or representing Mayor de Balsio or other administration officials is also not known.  The New York City Department of Investigation, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, and the office of the Comptroller of New York City have reportedly been investigating Mayor de Blasio and other administration officials in connection with allegations of corruption. The New York City Law Department, headed by former Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter, has been engaged in reviewing, redacting, and producing documents to some of the investigative authorities.

A charlie foxtrot of Federal, State, and Municipal investigators have been reportedly investigating allegations and reports that Mayor de Blasio or his agents have solicited campaign donations in exchange for official acts.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers each are reportedly working with coöperating witnesses that may eventually play a role in the possible filing of criminal charges against some of Mayor de Balsio's political insiders, if not Mayor de Blasio, himself.

Last June, the office of U.S. Attorney Bharara pressed charges against some senior New York Police Department officials and some politically-connected donors with ties to Mayor de Blasio.