De Blasio defends having NYPD detail chauffeur job applicant

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Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed Monday that directing his NYPD security detail to shuttle someone from a job interview at his official residence to “where they were staying” was “in the public’s interest.”

During his daily press briefing, de Blasio responded to a question about an incident in the scathing Department of Investigation probe that found he and the NYPD misused his security detail, when he insisted that having his police team drive a job applicant home from Gracie Mansion was merely a “professional courtesy.”

“I thought, for example, if someone had come for an interview for a job in New York City … came for a job interview, we wanted someone to come join us in public service, and did them the courtesy of dropping them off where they were staying, I think that’s a professional courtesy, it’s in the public’s interest, ’cause it’s about showing someone we value them and want them to come join us,” he said.

“I just think that’s appropriate, given the mission of getting people to serve New York City.”

The DOI report, released Oct. 7, found that the mayor used his security detail for personal and political purposes. Among the misuses was de Blasio requesting earlier this year that a member of the NYPD’s Executive Protection unit — tasked with the mayor’s security — drive a “guest” from the Upper East Side to her residence on the Upper West Side.

“One detective recalled an incident when Mayor de Blasio asked him and his EPU partner to drive a guest of the Mayor from Gracie Mansion to her residence on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A text message sent from an EPU sergeant to an EPU detective in February 2021 stated: ‘Just FYI …. He might request we give his guest a ride home. Please be available just in case,’” reads a portion of the investigation. “The sergeant stated that the Mayor’s guest was ‘a political analyst and friend who worked on his mayoral campaign.’”

Mayor de Blasio (pictured) and his wife Chirlane McCray went to the Prospect Park YMCA to work out at the gym.
The Department of Investigation report found that the mayor used his security detail for personal and political purposes.
Gregory P. Mango

The report found it was “unclear” if the guest was driven home by the EPU member, and de Blasio said he did not remember “asking his security detail to drive this guest without him in the vehicle.”

But in another message obtained by the DOI, an EPU detective wrote, “Per [the Mayor],” another EPU member “is going to drive this girl home.”

In addition, the investigation found the NYPD team tasked with protecting the mayor was used as a “concierge service” for the mayor’s son, Dante de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability. City Hall. Monday, October 18, 2021.
During his daily press briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to a question about an incident in the Department of Investigation probe.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“In practice, what is happening is that, you know, it’s not security; it’s essentially a concierge service, primarily for Dante,” DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett during a press conference. “And that, I think, you know — based on the view of experts we spoke to, and our examination of the facts and this matter — it’s either not good security, or it’s not good government, or both.”

The damning findings prompted a Manhattan district attorney referral for Inspector Howard Redmond, who oversees the Executive Protection Unit, after the report said he “actively obstructed and sought to thwart” the probe.

De Blasio and the NYPD said last week that Redmond has not been disciplined.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Arrives at city hall hours after his choice for school chancellor turned down the job on live TV.
The report found that Bill de Blasio’s security detail was used as a “concierge service” for his son, Dante.
Erik Thomas/NY Post

“We have not heard from the Manhattan DA, and so at this point, it’s simply an allegation. [Redmond] continues to do his work on behalf of the people,” he explained. “He’s spent almost 30 years in the service of people, he will continue.”

“There is no change in duty status,” NYPD spokeswoman Detective Sophia Mason confirmed.

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