De Blasio on City Paying Transportation Costs: ‘I’m a Humble Guy’

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters today that he is a “humble” man when explaining why he allows taxpayers to foot the bill for his personal transportation expenses.

After a reporter asked why he lets the public pay for his gas, tolls and subway rides–and those of his police escort–the mayor proclaimed his modest background.

“I’m a humble guy,” Mr. de Blasio said. “This is the first time I’ve held a prominent position.”

Prior to becoming mayor, Mr. de Blasio served as New York City public advocate, co-chair of the Brooklyn delegation in the City Council, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional director for New York and New Jersey during the Clinton administration. He is also the owner of a single family home in upscale Park Slope, Brooklyn valued at $1.4 million, and of a rental property he inherited in the same chic neighborhood worth $1.1 million. 

Mr. de Blasio pointed out that in declining to reimburse the city for the cost of his nongovernmental travel with a police escort, he’s not breaking any city rules or laws. While city officials are barred from using city resources for other purposes, COIB has determined that those under police protection, like the mayor, may use their city car without reimbursing the city.

“The Conflict of Interest Board has set the guidelines, and we follow them,” the mayor said. 

Still, while reimbursing those costs is not required by COIB, many officials–including the mayor’s predecessor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who famously purchased his own MetroCard, and former Council Speaker Christine Quinn–have or continue to reimburse the city for personal trips taken while under NYPD protection.

The mayor was spotted earlier this month entering the subway without paying while on city business, something his office has defended, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. The paper also noted the mayor was working to clarify whether he had to pay for his own commute from Gracie Mansion.