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The city’s Department of Investigation found Mayor de Blasio and his family misused his NYPD security detail in a damning report released Thursday — leading the department’s commissioner to refer the matter to the Manhattan district attorney’s office for a possible criminal probe.

The watchdog’s findings come on the heels of a probe it launched in 2019 after the Daily News reported the NYPD unit assigned to protect de Blasio was tasked with moving his daughter Chiara and her furniture to Gracie Mansion and dispatched to and from Yale University to taxi his son, Dante.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

The Department of Investigation also found that the city spent nearly $320,000 on the security team’s travel and expenses during de Blasio’s failed 2020 presidential run and that Hizzoner “has not reimbursed the city for these expenses, either personally or through his campaign.”

The estimated cost for that ended up being nearly $100,000 more than what The News first projected in January 2020.

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“It’s not security,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett said. “It’s essentially a concierge service.”

DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

De Blasio spokeswoman Danielle Filson said “the question of who should pay for NYPD expenses” is under appeal with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board and that “no final decision has been made.”

Later, de Blasio himself cited the security threats both he and his family have faced over the years as justification for what Garnett called his “inappropriate” use of the detail.

“I’m honored to be the mayor of the city, but my first responsibility is as a father and a husband,” he said. “I think about the safety of my family all the time. The ultimate decision when it comes to the safety must be made by security experts.”

Oct. 28, 2019: Mayor de Blasio ordered his NYPD security detail to repeatedly take his son to and from Yale University during his first years at school, the Daily News has learned.
Oct. 28, 2019: Mayor de Blasio ordered his NYPD security detail to repeatedly take his son to and from Yale University during his first years at school, the Daily News has learned. (New York Daily News)

But during de Blasio’s campaign trips, members of his security detail gave rides to not only the mayor, but his campaign staffers as well, leading investigators to determine that it demonstrated “a use of NYPD resources for political purposes.”

While the team of NYPD detectives is assigned to protect the mayor, his family, City Hall and Gracie Mansion, DOI also revealed that they were tasked with performing “security checks” at his Park Slope home — even though de Blasio no longer lives there and has resided at Gracie for several years.

Perhaps most damning among the report’s findings, though, is its conclusion that the cop who oversees the protective unit, Inspector Howard Redmond, tried to cover up details about the security debacle.

According to the report, Redmond and other members of the mayor’s security team used encrypted text messaging apps to conceal their communications, and Redmond deleted messages that would have been relevant to DOI’s probe.

“DOI has concluded that the NYPD inspector in charge of the First Family’s security detail actively obstructed and sought to thwart this investigation, frustrating DOI’s efforts to learn the full facts regarding these allegations,” the report states. “Inspector Redmond had deliberately sought to destroy official communications that he knew were sought in a DOI investigation and then misled the NYPD’s own attorneys about his compliance with the demand for records.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) chats with NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond (left) during the Annual Greek Day Parade on April 14, 2019.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) chats with NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond (left) during the Annual Greek Day Parade on April 14, 2019. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)

Garnett said Thursday that Redmond’s conduct had been referred to the Manhattan DA’s office, but that she did not recommend de Blasio be criminally investigated.

Redmond did not immediately respond to a message.

In interviews with investigators, de Blasio claimed that he relied on the NYPD for guidance when he had questions about the proper use of the detail, but after requesting written documentation of those communications, DOI notes in its report that it got bubkes from the NYPD.

In a move that would seemingly contradict the mayor’s assertion that he relied on NYPD guidance, the report notes that a sergeant in his detail texted a detective in February that de Blasio “might request we give his guest a ride home” from Gracie Mansion to the Upper West Side. In another text, a detective wrote that, per de Blasio’s instructions, a member of the detail “is going to drive this girl home.”

One former member of the de Blasio’s police detail told The News on Thursday that carting the mayor’s guests around was “common,” including rides for Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hizzoner’s brother and former Mayor David Dinkins.

“What’s gonna happen to this guy? Nothing! This thing is a joke,” said the source. “He’s gonna deny it like everything else. This was normal protocol.”

The source noted that the detail also routinely carted around high-level aides Jonathan Viguers and Allie Kopel. Neither immediately responded to messages.

New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray (left) Dante De Blasio (center) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) following Dante's graduation from Yale in 2019.
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray (left) Dante De Blasio (center) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) following Dante's graduation from Yale in 2019. (Twitter)

While the City Charter doesn’t provide specifics on how security details should be managed, DOI noted that the mayor’s detail is specifically tasked with providing security for the mayor and his immediate family — not staff or guests — and that the charter prohibits officials from using their positions “for personal advantage.”

The report also points out that while the Conflicts of Interest Board outlines exceptions for elected officials using city vehicles to drive to and from political events, those exceptions do not cover travel outside the city — such as stumping for president in Iowa and South Carolina, as de Blasio did in 2019.

Despite that, Team de Blasio pushed back against DOI’s findings, with Filson calling them “unprofessional.”

“Intelligence and security experts should decide how to keep the mayor and his family safe, not civilian investigators,” she said. “This unprofessional report purports to do the NYPD’s job for them, but with none of the relevant expertise — and without even interviewing the official who heads intelligence for the city.”

She added that the result was “an inaccurate report, based on illegitimate assumptions and a naïve view of the complex security challenges facing elected officials today.”

Garnett brushed back that response and rejected the idea that the official who Filson referred to — John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism — knows more about how security details work than the Secret Service, which DOI interviewed.

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“I just reject that categorically as a premise. That’s just — no,” she said. “I don’t think that a mayor who’s interested in an effective and independent DOI would be saying that about our work.”

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De Blasio nominated Garnett as DOI commissioner in 2018, after firing her predecessor Mark Peters, who the mayor also chose for the job, but who fell out of his favor after aggressively investigating Hizzoner.

Asked how he went from hailing Garnett as a consummate professional to claiming that her latest report is “naïve” and “unfair,” de Blasio claimed he was “entirely surprised” by its findings and questioned why she didn’t interview Miller.

“I have praised the commissioner, saw a lot of great work historically,” he said. “When they do their job, I will be the first to praise them, but how do you forget to interview the guy in charge of security if you’re doing a report on security?”

Members of New York City Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD security detail allegedly moved Chiara de Blasio out of a basement apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York.
Members of New York City Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD security detail allegedly moved Chiara de Blasio out of a basement apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. (Stephen Rex Brown/New York Daily News)

The DOI’s 47-page report does not lack in detail, though, and it shed new light on an incident The News reported in 2019 about Chiara de Blasio’s move from her Brooklyn apartment to Gracie Mansion.

According to the report, First Lady Chirlane McCray told members of the security team to go to Chiara’s apartment “to move Chiara’s belongings to Gracie Mansion in her detail vehicle, as she believed that Chiara would not have many belongings.”

As it turned out, that wasn’t exactly the case. Chiara had to move her futon, too.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (rear) attends the National Action Network's annual Christmas Day toy giveaway and community meal for the hungry with his daughter, Chiara (front) in 2015.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (rear) attends the National Action Network's annual Christmas Day toy giveaway and community meal for the hungry with his daughter, Chiara (front) in 2015. (LightRocket via Getty Images)

But, thanks to Redmond, Chiara and her mom got additional help in the form of a van the inspector dispatched to her Sunset Park pad — even though Redmond claims he was not explicitly instructed by the mayor or his family to do so. Mayor de Blasio also claimed he did not recall telling Redmond about the move.

“First Lady McCray stated that the futon was ultimately placed into a van, which had ‘miraculously’ arrived to assist in the move,” the report said. “McCray stated that while she and Chiara moved most of the belongings on their own, she recalled that one of the detail members helped move the futon due to its heavy and unwieldy nature.”

Members of New York City Mayor de Blasio's NYPD security detail allegedly used two Sprinter vans to move Chiara de Blasio out of her Sunset Park, Brooklyn apartment.
Members of New York City Mayor de Blasio's NYPD security detail allegedly used two Sprinter vans to move Chiara de Blasio out of her Sunset Park, Brooklyn apartment.

Garnett said she gave de Blasio a pass for not remembering details of Chiara’s move, and that while DOI found no evidence the mayor lied to investigators, she also noted that the lapses in memory cited by Redmond and other members of the detail were not “credible.”

“Someone told someone that Chiara was going to be moving back to Gracie Mansion that day,” Garnett said. “But no one claims to have any recollection of how that happened, or who told what to whom, but we know that it did happen.”

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