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November 28, 2007

Sneaky Giuliani billed obscure agencies for travel expenses

Ben Smith of the Politico has a great investigative scoop today. Smith used New York's Freedom of Information Law to obtain Rudy Giuliani's spending records as mayor.

The documents reveal that Giuliani racked up tens of thousands of dollars in security costs for personal business, and that his office billed these expenses to obscure city agencies:

The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.

When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.

But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.

Auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000.

The letter, whose existence has not been previously reported, was also obtained under the Freedom of Information Law. [Politico]

As mayor, Giuliani was entitled to 24/7 police protection, no matter where he happened to be. So, there was nothing improper about bringing the NYPD on his weekend getaways.

Long trips and overnight stays with security do cost the city more in gas and lodging. For example, the city spent over a thousand dollars to put up for officers at the Atlantic Utopia Lifestyle Inn, according to the Politico. (You can't make this stuff up.) But that's not sinister, either. Even the mayor needs to get out sometimes. Nobody's suggesting that he should have been a prisoner in Gracie Mansion to save the city some money.

Still, Giuliani hasn't explained why he chose to bill these expenses to the New York Loft Board, Office for People With Disabilities, and the Procurement Policy Board. 

Why all the secrecy surrounding services that Rudy was entitled to anyway? The Politico's sources speculate that Giuliani's office didn't want to tarnish the boss's reputation for fiscal discipline, or let on that he was visiting his mistress on a regular basis. 

I hope that none of these agencies did without because the mayor's lifestyle was cutting into their budgets.

Here's are some municipal accounting questions: Would anyone those agencies have known that Giuliani was charging tens of thousands of dollars to their offices?  If any officials knew, did they break the rules by letting these illegitimate charges ride? If nobody noticed, it doesn't speak well of accounting standards under Giuliani.

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Comments

Cough.
Travelgate.
Cough.

I thought you were going to say "troopergate"--after Spitzer's recent scandal with security detail--equally irrelevant to Giuliani's record, but more topical. The fact that I voted for Spitzer makes that one sting a little more.

I wonder how many of the senior members of the New York Loft Board were Giuliani patronage appointments. Something to check on.

As mayor, Giuliani was entitled to 24/7 police protection, no matter where he happened to be. So, there was nothing improper about bringing the NYPD on his weekend getaways.

If the security detail cost the same as when he goes home, that may be true, but added costs are certainly a concern to taxpayers who foot the bill, legal or not. The appearance of a coverup makes it a greater ethical breach. If an investigation takes place, and finds he spent excessively and tried to hide it, he won't be elected President. It's not because he fell in love with someone new, it's because he broke the public trust along the way (if the suspicions are borne out).

So to me, it looks like the GOP will be choosing between Mr Big Dig and a Huckleberry. Rudy's collapsing under the weight of too many lapses in judgment.

I'm concerned with the coverup.

Although, if he'd been transparent from the start, he probably wouldn't have been so blase about running such politically embarrassing tabs.

This is going to be juicy!

Dig in, folks. There's plenty to gorge on here, I feel certain.

Because Da Mayor is entitled to security wherever he may roam, there's something really juicy in the fact that the expenses were being billed improperly. Why on earth would he request or permit such a thing to happen, except that the alternatives looked even worse?

As always with Republican cover-ups: I don't usually need an alibi for, or tell a whopper to cover up, helping an old lady across the street. However, had her purse gone missing, I might feel otherwise.

Corrupt. Check.
Liar. Check.
Grotesque sense of entitlement. Check.
Palpably paranoid. Check.
Belligerent. Check.
Crazy ranting. Check.
Nauseating, hypocritical pandering to bible belt mullahs. Check.
Sincere belief in the sanctity of privilege. Check.
Shallow, embarrassing PR campaign based on cartoonish “tough guy ” image. Check.

He's got all the necessary qualifications. If Giuliani isn’t suited to be the GOPs presidential candidate, no one is. America's mayor indeed.

A commenter at Time's Swampland, provides a slogan:

"Rudy got laid and NY paid."

Cfrost, you can apply those tags to most of the people running for POTUS, from either party, especially these:

Corrupt.
Liar.
Grotesque sense of entitlement.
Sincere belief in the sanctity of privilege.

Hilary, Edwards, Romney, Guliani, they all have these faults. Obama is the only one I truly feel does not.

B-money - bull shit. Obama. You support Obama like you support the democratic party in general. As a concern troll.

Well mudkitty, explain to me how you think you have any fucking idea who I support and what my value structure is or choosing a candidate? Not that is any of your business, or that I feel I have to explain myself to someone like you, but I have voted Democrat many times in my life. So fuck off and go to do us all a favor and put a gun in your mouoth and pull the trigger!

Its been an insane week, so I just read this now. This is travelgate? The expenses of a security detail? Are you kidding me?

B-money

Be nice to mudkitty. He/she/it is an empty suit/skirt. Previous conversations confirm this.

I donno, Phantom -- softening something as vile as publicly asking someone to kill themselves by saying that same somebody is a non-entity hardly seems like a decent moral posture.

"put a gun in your mouoth and pull the trigger"

Yeesh. My guess is you've never actually been close to someone who has checked out in that fashion. Either that, or you have, which takes that statement past merely vile and into morbid pathology.

Man, pour yourself a drink, grab something to eat, and try to get some sleep.

Dock

I'd expect that in the light of day, B-Money will agree that it was a lousy thing to say

That is what crawls out, when you turn over the rocks.

That's how I know, B-money, since you asked how I know. That, and experience and research.

mudkitty, you do not a damn thing about me. You have no experience or research that gives you any idea of who I support politically or what my overall values are. So kindly fuck yourself when you tell me bullshit on my support of Obama.

As for my other comment, maybe pills and booze as opposed to the violent method I suggested...

B-Money, for crying out loud, what the hell is this? Do you have any personal familiarity with suicide? Have you been hitting the sauce too hard? You shouldn’t have to consult Emily Post to understand that urging suicide puts one absolutely beyond the pale. If you genuinely feel that mudkitty’s opinions actually warrant her death, then be a man about it and kill her yourself. Otherwise remember the old saw about the holding your tongue and letting others suspect you’re a fool, or speaking and confirming it.

We can all see who you are, here on this site, Bemoney, and for a very long time now. We can all tell a lot about you.

What? Are you saying you haven't you been honest with us?

Actually, B-money has a secret crush on me.

Far be it from me to detract from the vicarious thrill of witnessing B-Money's slow-motion nervous breakdown, but on the actual topic of the thread, the story's getting better by the hour. The juiciest of the latest tidbits: NYPD officers assigned to walk Judith Nathan's dogs. Josh Marshall and his crew are all over this story like pack of hungry pit-bulls, so follow the link and enjoy.

Mind you, I don't think this, or any other corruption scandals, will necessarily knock Giuliani out the running. My guess is that the kind of voters who are drawn to Giuliani's heady, Nixonian blend of resentment, mean-spiritedness, and outright thuggery will see his ability to game the system to his advantage as a plus. I'm just enjoying the show.

The voters are drawn to Giuliani's unparallelled record of accomplishment, unique in US public life in the past 25 years.

Pay attention.

There is no nervous breakdown. I do not like mudkitty and vice versa. She is a great example of close-mindedness. It annoys me to no end that people like her comment as they do.

I also do not appreciate someone telling me that my support of a political candidate is bullshit based on zero evidence. If you do "know" me from this site, you will know that I have supported Obama for some time now. Also, if you think you can tell 'alot' about me from my posts here, well you are sorely mistaken. You see what I allow you to see. As does anyone else who comes here. This is a blog. I comment on various topics. That doesn't mean that you know who I am or what I am about. Nor I you.

I apologize to the suicide references. I know that people are very affected by such a loss and too even joke about it or use it in a deragatory way on a blog is insensitive and not funny. I recognize my poor choice and apologize.

Good man, B Money

mudkitty is a she? OK, then she's a she-troll. All talk and nothing to back it up.

Gail Collins nailed a few good points in today's Times --

>It’s fitting that Giuliani’s first big campaign crisis wound up being about his special subject: security. When he was mayor, he got a whole lot of it. The city was at one point paying for police guards to protect and transport not only Rudy, his children and his elderly mother, but also both his wife and his mistress. Really, they were thisclose to assigning a detail to the family retriever and a springer spaniel he was courting down the block.

>The Giuliani presidential campaign is based on the idea that he understands that the world is a dangerous place and knows the steps that need to be taken to protect us. But his real conviction has always seemed to be that the world was a dangerous place for him. After American embassies were bombed in East Africa, his administration responded by blocking off the driveways to City Hall, barring protesters and politicians from their traditional press conference site on the building steps, and banishing tourists. Meanwhile, behind the barricades, the mayor was planning to put the city’s emergency command center inside the best-known terrorist target in America.

>Does this sound like a good plan, people? Do you want the next president putting a nuclear missile at Camp David while he moves the Situation Room to the Louisiana flood plain?

>The conflation of the safety of Rudy with the safety of New York reached its peak on 9/11, when the entire public security leadership of the city left ground zero in order to protect the mayor in his walk uptown. And then there was the aftermath, when he tried to postpone the mayoral election under the theory that the factor most critical to our survival was his continued presence at the helm.

>If the vision of city police officers cooling their heels outside his mistress’s home in the Hamptons is troubling, it’s not because of the moral implications. It’s a reminder that Rudy is one of those people who doesn’t handle power well. The more important he becomes, the more impossible he becomes.

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