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Why Isn’t Anyone Paying Attention to This?



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This was not exactly bannered across the front page of the New York Times yesterday. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I saw it in my paper at all. But on the Times’ website, dated December 20, there is this headline: “Giuliani’s Office Shifted Money Around? Yes. To Hide Hamptons Trips? Unlikely.”

If a look around the blogs is correct, it appears that no one has paid any attention to this story, which seems odd, given the frenzy over the issue a while back. It’s in the Times’ “Multimedia” box in the Politics section and difficult (for me at least) to cut and paste, or to link to directly, but here it is, in its entirety:

The headlines have dogged Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign for weeks. “Security costs for trysts draw attention,” said one. The articles questioned whether, as mayor, Mr. Giuliani tried to hide his visits to Judith Nathan in the Hamptons by burying the associated security costs in the budgets of obscure mayoral agencies like the Loft Board.

The answer is not likely, according to a review of the city records originally cited as the basis for the assertion.

All eight of Mr. Giuliani’s trips to the Hamptons in 1999 and 2000, including the period when his relationship was a secret, were charged to his own mayoral expense account, according to the records.

After his affair became public, the mayor’s office in 2001 did charge several trips to the Hamptons to the Assigned Counsel Plan, which was designed to coordinate legal efforts for the poor.

But the total cost of those trips, $2,474, represents less than 1 percent of the $281,338 in travel expenses that was charged to the obscure agencies.

And those expenses were not incurred until two years after Mr. Giuliani’s office first began to shift some mayoral travel expenses to lesser-known units.

It’s still not clear why Mr. Giuliani’s office did that, or why it began prepaying his American express bills, both practices that other administrations frowned upon. Former Giuliani administration officials say the shifting of expenses was a temporary, and appropriate maneuver until the Police Department reimbursed the mayor’s office for the security expenses.

The Bloomberg administration is still looking for the backup records for $40,000 of the $632,119 in travel costs that Mr. Giuliani’s office incurred between May 1999 and December 2001, when Mr. Giuliani left office.

But the records reviewed so far, which account for 93 percent of the mayor travel expenses for that period, suggest that Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to see Ms. Nathan, who is now his wife, had nothing to do with any accounting legerdemain.




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