Giuliani to Investigate Reports of Improper Security Charges
Senior adviser Tony Carbonetti discusses the security charges.
A top aide to former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani said tonight that he has ordered an investigation into how thousands of dollars of security expenses incurred during Giuliani's tenure were charged to obscure city agencies instead of the police department budget.
Senior adviser Tony Carbonetti said he does not know why the charges were accounted for as documented by a story posted Wednesday afternoon on the Politico Web site. According to the story, hotel, gas and other expenses for protecting the mayor during trips to the Hamptons were billed to departments such as the New York City Loft Board.
"I first learned the fact of this today," Carbonetti said in an interview before Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube debate. "I had heard about something like this a few days ago and was told it was being handled."
The campaign promised a better explanation after conducting the investigation into the issue. He said campaign adviser Joe Lhota, who had been a city budget director and deputy mayor, will look into it. But Carbonetti, who has been a Giuliani confidant throughout his public career, said the security expenses were legitimate spending by the department to protect a sitting mayor.
He noted that the police department is required to spend money on security for the mayor and his family regardless of whether the mayor is on city business, a political trip or a personal vacation. "The police department is required to cover the mayor of New York 24/7 no matter where he goes, for whatever reason," Carbonetti said.
According to the Politico story, which was based on documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, the loft agency documented trips the mayor took to Long Island in 1999 and 2000. The story raises the question of whether the mayor may have been eager to avoid disclosure of his trips to visit Judy Nathan, who later became his third wife.
The story also quoted a letter from the city's comptroller criticizing the accounting practices and saying the mayor's travel expenses increased 150 percent during the time period in question.
Carbonetti disputed the idea that Giuliani was attempting to hide anything. Asked how the police charges would have been accounted for in other agency budgets, he said: "Not being a budget guy, I have no idea. If you wanted to hide something, wouldn't you put it under a security thing at NYPD, therefore you would never get it."
--Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear
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