USA Updates DA Melinda Katz’s use of security detail to move harks back to de Blasio ‘misuse’
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz tasked her publicly funded security detail with helping her move — similar to former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s documented misuse of his protection team.
The top Queens prosecutor’s use of her security detail was reminiscent of how de Blasio — who recently announced he is running for a House seat — employed the taxpayer-funded perk for personal purposes while mayor, including moving his daughter.
In October, a damning city Department of Investigation probe found that de Blasio used the Executive Protection Unit to perform “errands” for him and his family — including helping his daughter move and chauffeuring his son. An NYPD van was used to move his daughter, Chiara de Blasio, from her Brooklyn apartment into Gracie Mansion in 2018, according to former DOI head Margaret Garnett’s report.
Under de Blasio, the Executive Protection unit had also turned into an “essentially a concierge service,” for the mayor’s adult son, Dante de Blasio, Garnett lamented.
“It’s no way to run a railroad,” she said during a press conference after the investigation’s release.
Additionally, then-First Lady Chirlane McCray’s detail transported personal items — an act that amounted to a “misuse of NYPD resources for a personal benefit,” the investigation found.
DOI’s 49-page investigation found the NYPD in 2019 paid about $320,000 to follow de Blasio on the presidential campaign trail, including a previously reported trip to a Red Sox game in Los Angeles.
Closer to home, de Blasio tasked the EPU with driving a “guest” who is a “political analyst and friend who worked on his mayoral campaign” from the Upper East Side to where she was staying on the Upper West Side.
In sum, the investigation concluded that de Blasio’s actions and the NYPD’s management of his security amounted to “potential violations of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Law, lapses in best practices, corruption vulnerabilities, and inefficient uses of public resources.”
After the DOI report was released, de Blasio claimed it contained “inconsistencies” and “inaccuracies” without pointing to any specific errors.
During an October press conference, the Democrat insisted that using the EPU to shuttle a guest across Manhattan was “in the public interest.”
“I thought, for example, if someone had come for an interview for a job in New York City … came for a job interview, we wanted someone to come join us in public service, and did them the courtesy of dropping them off where they were staying, I think that’s a professional courtesy, it’s in the public’s interest, ’cause it’s about showing someone we value them and want them to come join us,” he told reporters.
De Blasio also criticized city investigators for not interviewing Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller, who heads the department’s intelligence, counter-terrorism and public affairs divisions.
In response to de Blasio’s complaints, Garnett said on NY1, “When you see a pattern of conduct and a culture that public resources are available for your personal benefit, that’s incredibly destabilizing to good government, it’s not a good use of the public’s money. ”
Garnett also noted the then-mayor did not specify any particular mistakes in her report as he moaned about it.
“I’ve yet to hear any identification of the claimed factual inaccuracies.”
As The Post exclusively reported Sunday, Katz potentially flouted ethics rules by assigning her bodyguards to help haul her belongings into her new home.