Paul Massey is formally demanding Manhattan’s District Attorney and the US attorney to probe Mayor de Blasio’s legal representation and how the mayor intends to pay for their services. On Friday, the Real Estate developer who is challenging de Blasio in the 2017 mayoral bid, sent letters to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and US Attorney Preet Bharara. Their offices are already investigating the Democratic Mayor over his fund raising practices.
Massey asserts that while de Blasio is using the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel to represent him in the probe, he has not yet paid any of his legal bills. Massey describes this as “an arrangement no ordinary person or business entity could secure.” As reported by the NY Post, in his letter Massey requests the public Attorneys to “determine whether a thing of value, an illegal campaign contribution, or a failure by the mayor to pay lawfully rendered bills represents a violation of criminal law, the New York City Charter, or New York State ethics laws.”
Bill de Blasio’s spokesman has said that the mayor plans to set up a legal-defense fund to pay the bills. Government regulators have also criticized this, because legal defense funds are infamous for their ‘relative lack of scrutiny’. In contrast to a campaign account, these funds are not required to provide disclosures.
While the mayor has not publicly commented on Massey’s affront, two weeks ago Eric Phillips, de Blasio spokesman, issued a fact sheet touching upon how payments will be made. “No taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the mayor’s individual compliance with these reviews,” it read. “The mayor’s lawyers will be paid with outside funds from an account that has yet to be established or funded.”
By: Helen Zaboulani