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Bloomberg Says Disclosing Deputy Mayor's Arrest Not His 'Responsibility'

By Tom Liddy | September 4, 2011 12:39pm | Updated on September 5, 2011 12:13pm
Mayor Bloomberg faced a flurry of questions about failing to mention that former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith had been arrested before his resignation.
Mayor Bloomberg faced a flurry of questions about failing to mention that former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith had been arrested before his resignation.
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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to apologize Sunday for failing to disclose that former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith had been arrested in Washington D.C. just days before he stepped down.

Breaking his silence after a church service at the Christian Cultural Center in Canarsie, Brooklyn, Bloomberg said that it was not his "responsibility" to tell the public about the July 30 arrest, according to the New York Times.

"I did not believe it was right for our administration to put out a story about an incident that had the potential to [bring] even more suffering to the Goldsmith family," he said, WCBS/Channel 2 reported.

The mayor, who canceled an appearance on his weekly radio show with WOR's John Gambling Friday in the wake of the revelations, said that while he had an obligation to his constituency, he also had a duty to treat his employees fairly.

Former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith resigned last month.
Former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith resigned last month.
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"I also believe as an employer, employers have a responsibility to treat employees with some consideration and that is how I built my business, that’s how we run this government and that’s how we will continue to do so," he said, according to CBS.

However, Bloomberg added that if Goldsmith, once touted as a superstar but widely blamed for the administration's disastrous response to the Christmas 2010 blizzard, had not resigned, he would have been fired.

"Given the high standards we set for government service and the serious circumstances surrounding his arrest, Mr. Goldsmith could no longer continue work at City Hall," Bloomberg said, according to WCBS.

Bloomberg's comments drew quick fire from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

"Unfortunately the Mayor has this backwards: His first obligation is to protect the public, not to protect a staff member," he said in a statement. "The City Council should hold hearings, so we can get a full accounting of the facts in this matter."

The revelation last Thursday that Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, had been arrested for allegedly shoving his wife during a heated argument at their D.C. home sparked a flurry of criticism from local politicians, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Bloomberg, who reportedly accepted Goldsmith's resignation at a meeting the day after his arrest, merely said that his deputy was leaving office to pursue work in the private sector.

"Your claim that Deputy Mayor Goldsmith was 'leaving to pursue private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance' was a misrepresentation of the facts," de Blasio wrote in a Sept. 2 letter to Bloomberg.

"I cannot accept the leader of the City of New York lying to its citizens."

In a statement, Stephen Goldsmith said that he did not reveal the reason behind his resignation because he did not want to embarrass his family, nor did he want to become "a distraction to the important work of City Hall."

"I thought the immediacy of my resignation mooted the need for further explanation. I was wrong," Goldsmith said. "The lack of a fuller disclosure I now regret as I regret the loss of my public service career and the intrusion my children have experienced."

Goldsmith also said that it was his responsibility to disclose the reasons for his resignation, not the mayor's.

"I regret the criticism of the Mayor for his support of my family," Goldsmith added. 

If city officials are arrested within the five boroughs, their arrest is reported to the Department of Investigation. However, those arrested outside the city's boundaries are not subject to the same rule.

The public advocate plans to introduce legislation to close this loophole.

According to a Washington, D.C. police report obtained by DNAinfo.com, Goldsmith, 64, allegedly shoved his wife, Margaret, into a counter.

"I should have put a bullet through you years ago!" Margaret Goldsmith yelled, according to the document.

Goldsmith then broke a phone and grabbed his wife and would not let go, the report said.

The Goldsmiths have disputed the account in the police report.