Hey, did you hear that New York City Mayor (and 2020 presidential candidate) Bill de Blasio’s daughter Chiara got herself a new place to live in the Big Apple? She’s taken up residence with her parents at Gracie Mansion. Good for her. The real estate market there is a real bear. But if you didn’t hear about it, that might be because she moved out in the dead of night. And she had plenty of help with the move, coming in the form of some of Hizzoner’s personal security detail from the NYPD.
As you might imagine, dispatching some of New York’s finest to go carry your daughter’s couch up to her new room is not only frowned upon but is strictly barred under New York ethical conduct rules. The New York Daily News explains.
Good government advocate Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, called for a probe of the incident.
“It’s something the Conflicts of Interest board should take up,” said Lerner. “It’s such a simple and straightforward rule that it should not be ignored.”
Lerner and the former COIB official said it’s premature to say for sure the move violated conflict of interest rules because all the facts haven’t been made public — but they agreed that the rules are clear.
“You are prohibited from using your office for private gain, either for yourself, a family member or your business,” the former official said. “You’re also prohibited from using city resources or personnel for any non-city purpose.”
Both the Mayor and the police have an explanation for why this happened, neither of which looks terribly convincing. De Blasio is saying that it’s not a violation because the cops “volunteered” to do it. First of all, even if that’s true, when your boss also happens to be the Mayor (and in charge of the police) and “suggests” his daughter needs some help, are you inclined to say no? And even if they cheerfully volunteered to do so without being asked, as explained in the excerpt above, you can’t use a city resource (the police, in this case) for a non-city purpose. They also saved money by not having to pay movers, so that could be considered a “private gain.”
The NYPD spokesman had a different explanation. He said that this was a question of convenience because a group of professional movers would require background checks and vetting before they could be allowed into the mansion. That may very well be true, but it does nothing to mitigate the issues raised above. The daughter had to know in advance that she was moving and it would up to her (or her father) to make those arrangements and vet the movers in a timely fashion.
This is a small story in the larger scheme of things, but it’s just one more example of how Bill de Blasio runs things in New York City. The rules don’t apply to him, whether it’s campaign finance laws or ethical standards of conduct. If he wants to get something done, it’s what he wants that comes first. And he’s been pulling these stunts since he arrived. Small wonder his approval rating is hovering around 26 percent.