The Real Deal New York

Taxpayers forked over $5.4M for de Blasio’s legal fees

The bills are connected to federal and state investigations
November 08, 2016 09:37AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Federal and state officials are investigating Mayor Bill de Blasio, but taxpayers are footing the bill.

The administration has spent at least $5.4 million in taxpayer money on legal fees connected to investigations into the mayor’s fundraising activities, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials are working to determine whether or not the mayor exchanged government favors for donations.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a white collar firm, received most of the legal fees. Last month, the New York Times reported that federal investigators were focused on whether the administration took action on behalf of donors to de Blasio’s now-defunct Campaign for One New York. At the time, officials indicated that other ongoing investigations into the mayor’s administration — like those involving the deed restrictions at the Rivington House and the sale of the Long Island College Hospital — were less likely to lead to criminal charges.

The legal fees are expected to increase as the investigations drag on. Ken Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, told the Journal that the bills won’t necessary make or break support for de Blasio, but they also don’t look good for the mayor.

“It doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t smell good,” he said. “It’s tax money that could be spent on better things.” [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel