'Taxes Funded Rudy Giuliani Love Trysts'
by Zahid Hussain Politico November 28, 2007
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.
At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”
The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani’s New York Police Department security detail.
Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."
It’s also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week.
Asked about this article after it was published on Wednesday, Giuliani said: "It's not true."
He said he had 24-hour security during his eight years as mayor because of "threats," adding: " I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."
The practice of transferring the travel expenses of Giuliani's security detail to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices has never been brought to light, despite behind-the-scenes criticism from the city comptroller weeks after Giuliani left office.
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.
Long Island bills
The receipts tally the costs of hotel and gas bills for the police detectives who traveled everywhere with the mayor, according to cover sheets that label them “PD expenses” and travel authorizations that describe the trips.
New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.
Many of the receipts are from hotels and gas stations on Long Island, where Giuliani reportedly began visiting Nathan’s Southampton condominium in the summer of 1999, though Giuliani and Nathan have never discussed the beginning of their relationship.
Nathan would go on to become Giuliani’s third wife, but his second marriage was officially intact until the spring of 2000, and City Hall officials at the time responded to questions about his absences by saying he was spending time with his son and playing golf.
The receipts have languished in city files since Giuliani left office, apparently in part because of City Hall's decision to bill police expenses to a range of little-known city offices.
"There is no really good reason to do this except to have nobody know about it," Carol O'Cleireacain, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who was budget director under Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, said of the unusual billing practices.
A Giuliani spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, declined to comment on any aspect of the travel documents or the billing arrangements.
A Giuliani aide who would speak only on the condition of anonymity denied that the unorthodox billing practices were aimed at hiding the expenses, citing "accounting" and noting that they were billed to units of the mayor's office, not to outside city agencies.
The aide declined to discuss Giuliani's visits to Long Island.
The trips themselves were a departure for a mayor who had prided himself on spending every waking moment in the city and on the job, and offer a glimpse into the dramatic and controversial finale to his tenure in office.
Receipts show him in Southampton every weekend in August and the first weekend in September of 2001, before the terror attacks of Sept. 11 disrupted the routines of his city.
Both the travel expenses and the appearance that his office made efforts to conceal them could open Giuliani to criticism that his personal life spilled over into his official duties and his expenses grew in his final years in office.
It is impossible to say which of the 11 Long Island trips indicated by credit card receipts were to visit Nathan and which were for other purposes.
Eight of those trips, however, were not noted on Giuliani's official schedule, which is now available in the city's municipal archive and contains many details of Giuliani's official and unofficial life.
The billing practices, however, drew formal attention on Jan. 24, 2002, when Thompson, the city comptroller, wrote the newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a confidential letter.
One of his auditors, he wrote, had stumbled upon the unexplained travel expenses during a routine audit of the Loft Board, a tiny branch of city government that regulates certain apartments.
Broadening the inquiry, the comptroller wrote, auditors found similar expenses at a range of other unlikely agencies: $10,054 billed to the Office for People With Disabilities and $29,757 to the Procurement Policy Board.
The next year, yet another obscure department, the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, was billed around $400,000 for travel.
"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that, due to security concerns, the information could not be provided," said Simmons. Thompson took office in 2002.
Thompson also warned that travel costs had increased by 151 percent in Giuliani's final fiscal year, to more than $618,000, a number which also includes police security on campaign swings for Giuliani’s abortive 2000 Senate run and trips to Los Angeles by Donna Hanover, who remained Giuliani's wife and the city's official first lady, in the fall of 2000.
Most of that travel also was billed to obscure agencies, though portions — much of it trips to and from Washington by Giuliani deputies — were accounted for more conventionally, with a more visible charge to the mayor's office.
Thompson suggested Bloomberg "review ... the cost of mayoralty travel expenses, given your administration's focus on fiscal constraints."
A spokesman for Bloomberg, Stu Loeser, said: "When we received the letter from the comptroller, we referred the matter to the Department of Investigations, as we would in any case like this."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Investigations declined to comment.
The executive director of the Loft Board referred Politico to Bloomberg's office for comment.
The first trip to Southampton appearing in the travel documents runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 1999.
Four police officers spent the night at the Atlantic Utopia Lifestyle Inn, according to an approval request for official out-of-city travel, billing the city $1,016.20.
Giuliani’s private schedule, available from the municipal archive, lists no events on Long Island that day.
The New York Post reported the following year that Giuliani "had long weekend visits with gal pal Judi Nathan at her Southampton, L.I., condo last summer, according to neighbors who said the mayor did little to conceal their relationship.”
The neighbors called their relationship and their time in Nathan's two-bedroom condo overlooking Noyack Bay "an open secret.”
"Several residents of the condo sometimes asked Giuliani's driver and members of his security entourage to turn off their car engines," the Post reported.
That first trip was followed by at least 10 more, according to the travel and credit card documents.
One of those trips, on Aug. 20-21, 1999, included a fundraiser on the evening of Aug. 21. Giuliani’s four-man detail arrived 24 hours early, billing the city $1,704.43 at the Southampton Inn, according to their approval request.
More trips followed in the summer of 2000, after the mayor's affair with Nathan became public and they were seen together publicly in Southampton. The trips accelerated in the summer of 2001, when he visited Southampton every weekend in August, as well as on Sept. 2.
Many of the trips show expenses only for gas, though his police detail billed the city $1,371.40 for the nights of Aug. 3-4, 2001, at the Village Latch Inn in Southampton.
Giuliani's police detail also spent a night in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the bill for the American Express card under Giuliani's name. The detectives spent $1,714.99 at The Breakers, a sprawling hotel and resort.
There is no indication that Nathan visited Palm Beach. Giuliani's aide did not recall the trip.
The 2001 travel expenses were billed to the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, a little-known unit of the mayor's office involved in programs that provide lawyers to poor defendants.
None of the 2001 trips to Southampton appear in Giuliani's official schedule. However, the schedule does contain a potential clue to his destination. Before three of them, Giuliani paid a visit to his barber, Carlo Fargnoli, on York Avenue near the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion.
Politico intern Kate Linthicum contributed to this article.