New York, NY – The complex web surrounding political contributions to Mayor de Blasio’s election campaign continues to grow ever more tangled as the head of City Hall’s Department of Investigations announced that he would not recuse himself from the U.S. Attorney’s office probe scrutinizing campaign donations to the mayor’s 2013 mayoral campaign, despite having served as the treasurer of that same campaign.
The Daily News reported that Mark Peters, commissioner of the Department of Investigations, made the announcement on Wednesday.
The DOI is one of several agencies investigating a corruption scandal that has resulted in five high ranking members of the NYPD being disciplined for allegedly accepting lavish gifts from two wealthy businessmen in exchange for favors.
One of those men, Jona Rechnitz, bundled more than $41,650 in checks to the de Blasio campaign, which included $9,900 in donations from Rechnitz and his wife.
While Peters was the treasurer of the de Blasio campaign when those checks came in, he no longer served in that position when Rechnitz donated an additional $50,000 in January 2015 to a political non-profit that supported several de Blasio projects including universal Pre-K and affordable housing.
A statement released by Peters’ office said that because the investigation is focusing on donations that were received after Peters had left his position as treasurer for the de Blasio campaign, there was no reason for him to step aside from the investigation.
“His recusal at this time would only serve to impede DOI’s active investigation of this matter. Given the arrests made and multiple reports issued by DOI criticizing the current administration, the suggestion that DOI is not acting with integrity or independently is wholly inaccurate.”
Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for the mayor, said that Peters has already demonstrated his ability to be impartial in his work.
She pointing to a report released on Wednesday that criticized the Administration for Children’s Services for lax supervision in homes for juvenile delinquents as proof that Peters is “an objective investigator” and said that City Hall is already implementing his recommendations.