On Wednesday Mayor de Blasio went to Albany to discuss the future of mayoral control, a policy question that will affect New York City’s roughly one million public-school students. By all accounts, most of the back and forth between the mayor and legislators focused, as one would expect, on education issues. Only toward the end of the session did Sen. Terence Murphy broach the topic of the allegations and investigations involving the mayor’s fundraising.
But several news outlets made the s-word (as in, scandal) a focus of their telling of the event. “De Blasio Spars With GOP Senators Over Education Amid Scandals,” was one header. “Murphy challenges de Blasio on office ‘allegations'” was how another outlet packaged its article on the mayoral control hearing. In a story headlined, “Lawmaker Questions De Blasio’s Plea To Maintain Control Of Schools Amid Scandal,” one news agency reported, “Mayor Bill de Blasio ran into a brick wall Wednesday in Albany, where his plea to maintain mayoral control of the schools could fall victim to the New York City corruption scandal.”
The mayor has real questions to answer about his fundraising for the 2014 effort to wrest control of the the State Senate and his Campaign for One New York nonprofit. The Rivington House deed and the hints that NYPD favors were doled out to thick-walleted business types also merit explanation. The FBI, U.S. attorney, Manhattan district attorney, state attorney general, city comptroller and city Department of Investigation don’t all open probes just for the heck of it. Some of the mayor’s closest allies and aides have been targeted by subpoenas.
However, whatever legal perils might or might not exist, the more certain danger for the mayor is the phenomenon that today’s mayoral control headlines reflect: That the sprawling set of allegations becomes the lens through which his administration’s moves—on mayoral control, the neighborhood rezonings, the city budget, whatever—are seen.
On Wednesday’s edition of BkLive, the daily live news broadcast by BRIC-TV, DNAinfo.com political reporter Jeff Mays, veteran investigative journalist Bob Hennelly and former City Comptroller John Liu joined me to size up the allegations and talk about what effect they might have on the mayor and the media that cover him. Watch below: