Good government groups and other top elected officials don’t believe it was right for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to use his influence when a political supporter was recently arrested, but de Blasio seems to think it’s just fine. He has deemed the action “appropriate.”
It’s difficult, if not impossible to see how. The mayor even went further by attempting to misrepresent the circumstances around the arrest of supporter and transition team member Bishop Orlando Findlayter.
“This is an unusual situation where a very prominent member of the clergy obviously was experiencing a very unusual situation,” de Blasio said Thursday in his first comments about the situation. “So, I thought it was appropriate to make an inquiry and I got a response. And that’s the end of the story.”
Not true, says the executive director of good government group Common Cause New York, Susan Lerner. “The only thing unusual about the situation regarding Pastor Findlayter is that the mayor involved himself in a police matter on behalf of a supporter and a friend. It is inappropriate for the mayor to exercise favoritism.”
Even other Democrats see de Blasio’s behavior as troubling.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, a fellow Democrat and close de Blasio ally, said the call was problematic.
“The rule is, the mayor shouldn’t be involved in any way about somebody’s arrest,” Stringer said. “When you do make that call, you do have to answer a lot of questions.”
Between botching snow storms and school closings and this, it’s fair to say de Blasio is off tto a rocky start as NYC Mayor.