GOP Candidate Malliotakis Slams De Blasio Over Debate Answers On Anti-Corruption Measures, Columbus Statue

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was pointed pushback and an attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s integrity Thursday following his refusal to support anti-corruption measures at the final Democratic mayoral primary debate the night before.

“It sends a sign that New York City is for sale,” said Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Malliotakis was on the warpath Thursday evening. She was furious at the mayor’s refusal to support public disclosure of donors who seek favors from City Hall.

It was a hot topic at the debate between de Blasio and his Democratic primary challenger, former City Councilman Sal Albanese, on Wednesday night.

“Should the mayor be required to notify an agency, such as the Department of Investigation or the Conflicts of Interest Board, every time a donor calls the mayor or somebody in the administration that are seeking favors?” Kramer said.

“I’m very content with the system we have now,” de Blasio replied.

Albanese said: “It should be transparent – absolutely, no doubt about it. I don’t know why we don’t have that.”

On Thursday, Kramer asked Malliotakis, “Do you think the public has the right to know when donors seek or receive favors from the mayor?”

“Yes,” Malliotakis replied. “What we see here is a situation where the ‘tale of two cities’ has gotten worse, and it is a tale of the mayor’s friends and donors and the rest of us, and that has to end. We should be reporting who is being lobbied.”

Malliotakis held a news conference Thursday in front of the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle, so as to dramatize the mayor’s refusal to be pinned down about whether the statue should stay or go.

“Why can’t you tell us flat out whether you’ll remove it?” Kramer asked de Blasio at the debate.

“The right way to handle all the issues that have been brought up is it to have a commission,” de Blasio said.

“What’s your personal opinion?” Kramer asked.

“I don’t think it makes sense for me to opine on issue by issue,” de Blasio said.

Albanese said, “What he’s done with his commission is created more schisms and more divisions.”

Malliotakis likewise criticized de Blasio’s answer about the Columbus statue on Thursday.

“It is completely outrageous,” she said. “On the simple question of whether the mayor personally believes that the Christopher Columbus statue should remain, he is dodging.”

Team de Blasio’s response to Malliotakis’ charges was to claim he was the victim of a “vile comment” about his heritage. In a news release, Malliotakis said maybe de Blasio should “go back to his birth name of Warren Wilhelm,’ because he “doesn’t have the heart and soul of an Italian.”

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