Paul Massey, a little-known Republican challenger to Mayor de Blasio, is swinging away, holding a press conference on Tuesday to accuse the mayor of being corrupt. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Right out of the gate, Republican Paul Massey went after the mayor over alleged corruption.
"I am here for a simple reason: Bill de Blasio is corrupt," Massey said.
While there are multiple investigations looking into dealings at City Hall, the mayor has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Neither have any of his close aides.
But that doesn't mean the mayor hasn't had to mount a legal defense. And de Blasio plans to raise money to pay for that defense.
"We haven't even gotten to the point of how to set up the appropriate entity," de Blasio said. "A legal defense fund is something as an idea that has been around for decades. Many people have used them. But we haven't structured it yet."
Massey was also critical of the law firm de Blasio has hired, Kramer Levin.
"How can de Blasio think it's OK to go into debt with a law firm that frequently does business with the city?" Massey said. "No ordinary person can get legal services with no plan to pay for them."
While Massey was self-assured when talking about the mayor, he seemed less confident on other subjects. For example when, it comes to crime, he wouldn't answer a question about whether there should be more stop-and-frisk.
"I haven't established an answer," Massey said.
It wasn't clear if Massey was being coy or simply hasn't adopted a position.
The mayor was quick to criticize.
"Well, you know, the issue really hasn't been in the news the last few years, so who can blame him?" de Blasio said. "Ah, yeah. I would suggest you need to have an answer on that one."
De Blasio helped reduce crime while curtailing the highly controversial program of stop-and-frisk, which critics say disproportionately targeted people of color. The reduction of stop-and-frisk was one of the centerpieces of de Blasio's 2013 campaign.
As of now, the only two Democrats to enter the race are state Senator Tony Avella and former City Councilman Sal Albanese.