NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new “email-gate” is engulfing City Hall.
The City Council is calling for an investigation into whether Mayor Bill de Blasio intentionally deleted emails showing a chummy relationship with a donor.
WEB EXTRA: READ THE EMAILS (Editor’s note: Phone numbers, email addresses redacted by CBS2)
De Blasio must rue the day he gave donor Jona Rechnitz his contact information, reported CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
A new set of previously undisclosed emails – one inviting him to a basketball game – has the City Council crying foul and demanding a new investigation into the mayor’s actions.
Council member Ritchie Torres, the chair of of the council’s Committee on Investigations, is calling on the Department of Investigation to look into whether there was an improper withholding or destruction of emails.
At issue? The invite to a Knicks game, asking “care to join me in my courtside seats tomorrow?”
And another one with the subject line “Please help please please,” which asked the mayor “What can we do for you to refuse Banks’ resignation?”
That’s a reference to then-NYPD Chief of Department Phil Banks, a Rechnitz pal who the generous developer wanted the mayor to appoint as his police commissioner.
The problem for the mayor is that the emails first surfaced this week at an NYPD corruption trial.
Some argue the email should have been retained by de Blasio and should have been turned over as part of a previous Freedom of Information ruling.
De Blasio, who received more than $150,000 in contributions from Rechnitz, was grilled today on WNYC radio, but he wouldn’t say what he did with those emails.
“Did you delete those emails?” host Brian Lehrer asked the mayor.
“Brian, we turned over thousands of emails. We turned over everything that we had, everything that was pertinent,” de Blasio said.
A second question and a second non-answer, Kramer reported.
“Do you think that an email from a major donor asking you not to accept the resignation of an NYPD official is not government business?” Lehrer asked.
“What’s important to recognize here is that this has all been looked at. We do our best to be transparent,” de Blasio said.
A spokesperson for DOI declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Council Speaker Corey Johnson said an investigation “is warranted.” But she said the probe could be done by either DOI or the council itself.