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.
But 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.