NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has made a sudden reversal, deciding to stick taxpayers with his legal bills.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Friday, de Blasio was clad in cargo shorts as he worked out at his Brooklyn gym Friday. And some were not pleased with his decision to stick taxpayers with $2 million in legal bills to pay the team hired to defend him in several corruption investigations.
“It actually makes more sense to do it this way and put it behind us,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio has said he would set up a legal defense fund and seek donations. He is still going to do that for some $300,000 in bills that he said were quickly linked to his political activities.
Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis said taxpayers should not pay a dime.
“The mayor is ethically challenged,” Malliotakis said. “This was not a government-related investigation. This was an investigation into a fundraising scheme in which he raised money to try to influence state senate elections.”
Although de Blasio was not charged criminally, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the mayor intervened on behalf of donors seeking political favors, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said the way the mayor raised money violated the “spirit” of the law.
The $2 million is enough to deliver nearly 246,000 meals to homebound seniors, place 682 homeless adults in shelters for one month, and hire 24 teachers and 26 police officers.
“We have to pay it?” said Olivia Cerchiara of Jamaica Estates, Queens. “No, that is crazy for him to ask of us.”
“If he has legal woes, they’re his alone,” said Carolyn Williams of the Bronx. “I don’t think the city should bear the burden. We have other things the $2 million could be used for.”
“No way. This is his this problem. Let him pay for it out of his own money,” said Mark Goret of Riverdale, the Bronx. “I wouldn’t give him a single nickel. He doesn’t deserve a cent.”
And with New Yorkers getting their first peek at the mayoral workout routine Friday, Hizzoner was also on the defensive for wearing cargo shorts, not gym clothes.
“They’re comfortable. You can put stuff in your pockets. Style? No, not my goal,” de Blasio said. “I am not here to impress you on a style level. I’m here to go to the gym, damn it.”
Before the bills are paid, the contract has to be registered by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. A spokesman said Stringer will do his due diligence in reviewing the contract.