Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to write an op-ed listing political donors who did not get favors from City Hall. The mayor said he was not satisfied with an initial draft in May but said the op-ed would run at some point before the November election.
Last May, as a corruption scandal loomed over City Hall, de Blasio promised to prove that donations to his now-defunct Campaign for One New York nonprofit did not buy favors. He said he would be providing the media a list of contributors who did not receive special treatment from his administration. In April, when the possibility of an indictment passed, he told reporters that he would instead write an op-ed about it.
But at the end of May, he said that he did not publish the piece because his first draft did not sufficiently demonstrate “what I was trying to say.”
The New York Post reported last week that a cache of emails released by City Hall in response to a records request “contradict the mayor’s repeated assertions that campaign donors don’t get special access.”
When WNYC’s Brian Lehrer asked the mayor Friday whether he would commit to sharing the op-ed before the November general election, he responded, “Sure.”
“I commit to publishing the op-ed and I have to find the time to do it and I’ll try and do it as soon as possible,” he said.
But he would not agree to publishing the op-ed two weeks before the general election.
“I’m not going to get into micromanagement of the op-ed,” he continued. “It’s a small thing but I’ll get it done.”
He then repeated that it is a “pretty small thing in the scheme of things” but that he intends to do it.
“You’ve seen a lot of very detailed reporting on all sorts of individuals who tried to get certain outcomes from the government and were rejected in those efforts,” he added. “I will put it together in an op-ed.”
Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who is the presumptive GOP nominee for the mayoral election, called on de Blasio to release the list of donors Thursday. “I’ve called him a liar and we have been promised many things from this mayor and he has yet to deliver and one of those things is the list of donors who have not received special treatment,” Malliotakis said, according to Politico.
De Blasio said that he has held more than 30 town hall meetings around the city where people he had never met raised a concern and he would ask a given agency commissioner to follow up personally and go meet with them.
“A crucial question is will whatever be done be done on the merits and I believe that’s been a consistent pattern,” de Blasio continued. “Sometimes people raise a concern and they’re right, sometimes they raise a concern and they’re wrong. But at least they will get looked — you know the issue will get looked at and there will be a judgement.”
Questions about whether deep-pocketed interests that donated to the Campaign for One New York, which advanced his agenda, received favors from the city the mayor had led to grand jury deliberations over the winter. In March, however, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said that his office would not file any charges. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance also said he would not prosecute de Blasio over his fundraising for State Senate Democrats.
A few days ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, de Blasio announced that the city will cover about $2 million of his legal bills in the grounds that the funds are directly related to his “public service and decision-making in government.”