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De Blasio calls on Cuomo to repay taxpayers for book costs: 'There needs to be a lot of accountability'

WCBS Radio New York logo WCBS Radio New York 11/24/2021 Erica Brosnan
Bill de Blasio © Provided by WINS Radio New York Bill de Blasio

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday called on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give taxpayers back the money he allegedly used to write his coronavirus pandemic memoir.

Earlier this week, the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee released a 63-page report outlining that Cuomo “utilized state resources and property, including work by Executive Chamber staff, to write, publish and promote his book.”

During a virtual press conference, reporters asked Mayor de Blasio, who had a volatile relationship with the former governor, if he thinks Cuomo should now be forced to repay taxpayers – and the mayor seemed to agree.

Noting that the report was “deeply troubling,” Mayor de Blasio said he believes “there needs to be a lot of accountability from this point on.”

“If government resources were inappropriately used, yes, of course he should pay back anything that he used inappropriately,” the mayor said. “If there are actions that rise to a criminal level, there should be prosecution.”

However, other reporters were quick to point out that the outgoing mayor still owes more than $300,000 in unpaid legal bills to the Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel law firm after he hired them in 2016 to handle investigations of his fundraising tactics.

According to a report from The City, the mayor ran up a total of $3 million in legal bills and taxpayers ended up footing most of it, but it does not appear de Blasio will be paying that back.

Though, the mayor did say he will pay back the roughly $300,000 he still owes to the firm.

“I will pay it all back,” he said. “I have mortgages, I had student loans, I've paid back everything in my whole life. I intend to pay it back.”

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for former Gov. Cuomo, told the New York Post Wednesday that the mayor should worry about paying his own bills before point a finger.

“Unlike the mayor, who owes taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds wasted on security costs during his embarrassing presidential campaign, staffers who volunteered on this project did so on their own time at no cost to the state,” Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi was referring to a Department of Investigation probe released last month, which found Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD security detail was misused on multiple occasions for political or personal purposes during his time in office.

The report said the mayor inappropriately used his security detail to move his daughter's belongings and transport his son, who both declined security and were not entitled to.

The report also claimed the mayor owed New York City taxpayers nearly $320,000 for using his security detail to shuffle staffers around, including those on his failed presidential bid.

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