Investigations into Mayor's Administration Will Cost Taxpayers Millions
The investigations into City Hall are costing the mayor some political capital. They are also costing tax payers millions of dollars. NY1's Courtney Gross explains.
Mayor Bill de Blasio admits the investigations swirling around his administration are costing taxpayers plenty of money.
"A lot of money is going to be spent here and I wish it wasn't, because I said 100 percent consistently that no one did anything wrong," de Blasio said on "The Brian Lehrer Show."
The admission came Friday on the mayor's weekly radio appearance on WNYC, a day after NY1 received the contracts that the administration signed with six law firms.
The firms have been hired to represent city employees in several investigations into how the de Blasio administration does business.
All told, the legal bill for all of these firms could cost taxpayers more than $11.6 million. That's despite the fact that the investigations are potentially political in nature.
One inquiry looks at whether the mayor's political aides circumvented state campaign finance law in 2014.
Another examines whether the mayor's independent nonprofit group, the Campaign for One New York, accepted donations in exchange for favors at City Hall.
The third examines the controversial lifting of a deed restriction at a hospice center on the Lower East Side.
The contracts, the mayor says, cover city employees.
"They need representation. It is an American right," de Blasio said. "Obviously they shouldn't have to pay for it out of their own pocket in regards to their city responsibilities."
The contracts that NY1 examined do not say much: they all have the title "John Doe Investigation."
They say the firm was hired to represent "a city employee."
A City Hall spokesman told NY1 that the contracts do not cover any employees of the Campaign for One New York, even though one contract reads that the city can decide to defend employees of "other entities."
NY1 is told that legal defense is being covered, in part, by the mayor's 2013 campaign account — almost $284,000 so far.
For now, it's unclear when these bills will end. All of the contracts say they will continue until the conclusion of the investigations.