De Blasio campaign fined $48K for misusing political donations

Campaign allegedly spent $100K with PR firm that helped launch de Blasio's Campaign for One New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign was fined $47,778 Thursday amid allegations it spent public campaign funds on plane tickets for his son, a makeup artist for his family and a second party to celebrate the mayor’s election in 2013.

The fines included $12,484 for contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits; $6,086 for taking donations from LLCs; and $21,159 for certain post-election expenses that are not permitted under campaign finance law.

The de Blasio campaign raised $10.6 million from private donors and received nearly $4 million in matching public funds, the New York Post reported.

For his 2013 mayoral run and his 2017 re-election campaign, de Blasio has raised more than $4 million from real estate officials, their family members or lobbyists, according to records. In May, The Real Deal reported that five of the top 10 bundlers for his re-election campaign were real estate figures.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Among the 2013 campaign’s infractions: spending more than $33,000 for a second party after the election, and shelling out $550 for a makeup artist for the de Blasio family on election night in 2013. The campaign also didn’t properly document the contributions of dozens of bundlers, including Jona Rechnitz, who was at the center of the NYPD bribery scandal.

Dan Levitan, a de Blasio campaign spokesperson, said the campaign “strongly disagree[s]” with the CFB’s findings.

The majority of the illegal post-election expenditures went to to Hilltop Publishing, a public relations firm instrumental in launching the nonprofit Campaign for One New York. That firm received more than $100,000 from the campaign.

Campaign for One New York, which supported many of his political initiatives and took unlimited contributions, was shuttered earlier this year and has been the subject of an investigation. Prominent real estate donors included Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management and David von Sprecklesen of Toll Brothers City Living.   [NYP] — E.B. Solomont