Giuliani Denies Obscuring Mayoral Expenses

Critics question whether Giuliani obscured bills to hide tryst.


Nov. 29, 2007— -- More questions emerged Thursday about a report that Rudy Giuliani misused public funds when he was mayor of New York to pay for secret trips to the Hamptons with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Judith Nathan.

New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson told ABC News that Giuliani's administration billed obscure city agencies for his security detail's travel expenses during his visits to the Hamptons.

Late this afternoon Giuliani told ABC News this story was a "hit job."

"This was really done to try to focus on my personal life," Giuliani said.

He said the New York Police Department always reimbursed city agencies for his security details' expenses.

"They were handled openly, honestly, it was the practice that was going on since my first term and the idea was to get the bills paid quickly," Giuliani said.

Thompson said this about the Mayor's explanation, "That's not the way that we operate these days, and it would not be the preferred way of doing business," Thompson said. "In the end, it's a very convoluted way of getting things done."

"If anyone hoped that no one would notice, they were being foolish," Thompson told ABC News.

The administration of the current New York mayor, Independent Michael Bloomberg, commented on the story Thursday night.

"During the Giuliani Administration, we believe that security expenses that were originally paid by the Mayor's office were ultimately reimbursed by the Police Department," said Stu Loeser, press secretary for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Loeser said his office would respond to any formal request for records proving such reimbursements were made, or documents indicating when Mayor Giuliani's policy began of paying for his security detail's expenses with city agency funds with the NYPD reimbursing those funds at a later date.

But, he said, they were not immediately available.

Critics said it looks as if Giuliani attempted to hide the expenses surrounding his affair with Nathan, who has a condo in Southampton.

The story, first published by the political newspaper Politico, included a claim by Thompson that his auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes."

Giuliani vigorously denied the accusation at Wednesday night's GOP debate.

"First of all, it's not true. I had 24-hour security for the eight years I was mayor," he said at the Republican debate in Florida. "I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."

The controversy refocuses attention where Giuliani does not want it -- on questions about the management of his administration and and on his widely publicized extramarital affair with Judith Nathan, now his third wife.

As first reported on the political Web site Politico, documents show police officers' billed stays at hotels such as the Village Latch Inn to the New York City Loft Board, the office for People With Disabilities, and other agencies.

In a 2002 letter to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Thompson wrote that his auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," and he referred the matter to the Department of Investigations, which today refused to comment

The Giuliani campaign would not provide evidence to support their explanation, referring reporters to current New York Mayor Bloomberg's office, which did not return a call for comment.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events