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Detective Who Drove Mayor Through Stop Signs Is Promoted Despite Gaffe

By Murray Weiss | July 11, 2016 7:06am
 NYPD Detective Nancy Sola, who sped through stop signs with Mayor Bill de Blasio, seen with Hizzoner celebrating her recent promotion to second grade detective.
NYPD Detective Nancy Sola, who sped through stop signs with Mayor Bill de Blasio, seen with Hizzoner celebrating her recent promotion to second grade detective.
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NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD detective who was caught driving Mayor Bill de Blasio through stop signs just days after he announced his "Vision Zero" plan to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety has been promoted, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Det. Nancy Sola, a 12-year veteran assigned to the mayor's security detail, was recently promoted to second grade detective despite the potentially career-derailing speed bump she hit in February 2014 when she blew through stop signs and was speeding with the mayor beside her in the passenger seat.

As it turned out, Sola is also the niece of politically influential taxi driver advocate Fernando Mateo, who recently reportedly admitted he raised $18,000 for de Blasio's 2017 re-election campaign, but instead allowed a female friend to claim she raised the money in hopes of getting a job with the administration.

Mateo started pressing his NYPD brass contacts to promote his niece as far back as a year and a half ago, sources said, but they resisted and told him she would likely have to wait and earn more seniority in the detail.

"I don’t have any friends in the police department, I have acquaintances and I don't care to discuss any of this with you," Mateo said when asked about his interest in helping his niece's career.

Sola finally won her promotion this past May 2, which she memorialized on Facebook with a photo of her and the mayor taken in City Hall.

But back in February 2014, her illegal driving maneuver — which was captured on video by CBS TV's Marcia Kramer — was embarrassing for de Blasio since it occurred two days after he launched his first major initiative, "Vision Zero," with the purpose of eradicating traffic fatalities by 2024.

When he announced "Vision Zero," de Blasio pledged that his administration would set the example by adhering to his new and tougher driving standards that includes a 25 mph speed limit.

“We’ve put a very bold plan before you, and we want the public to know we’re holding ourselves to this standard — and we intend to achieve these goals,” he said then.

► RELATED: Judge Rules Vision Zero Law Unconstitutional as NYPD Increases Its Use

Department of Motor Vehicles sources said at the time that if Sola were hit with the traffic summonses, she might have lost her license.

Sola's name was not disclosed at the time, but the NYPD defended her, saying that their security personnel are highly trained and sometimes forced to remain in formation depending on traffic flows.

The then 32-year-old detective was given a reprieve and allowed to remain in the busy security detail. 

An NYPD spokesman declined comment.

Insiders say detectives assigned to so-called "specialty squads" are frequently promoted after four years in the bureau while their colleagues, who carry heavy caseloads in precinct squads, complain that they generally have to wait significantly longer periods before receiving similar bumps.

Records show Sola joined the NYPD in 2004 and was initially assigned to the 19th Precinct, where she worked anti-crime before being transferred into the Intelligence Division in 2011. She was promoted 18 months later to detective in September 2012.

Around that time, she joined de Blasio's security detail while he was running for mayor — benefiting from de Blasio's insistence on staffing his bodyguards with minority officers.

Her Facebook pages also show numerous photos with "my uncle," Fernando Mateo, that were either taken inside his Westchester County home, or at the popular La Marina restaurant, which Mateo co-owns, on the Hudson River in Inwood.

In addition to representing taxi and livery drivers, Mateo also heads an association of bodega owners and is a longtime activist in Washington Heights with ties not only to de Blasio, but to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Gov. George Pataki.

And he and his restaurant La Marina have hosted fundraisers for politicians ranging from then-President George W. Bush to de Blasio.

A registered Republican, Mateo raised $18,000 for de Blasio's 2017 reelection campaign, but he admitted that he allowed a Brooklyn female friend to claim she raised the money.

The sleight of hand — a misdemeanor — was uncovered by the blog City Council Watch. The FBI has subsequently spoken with the woman at her Brooklyn home, who did not get a city job or even an interview for one, Mateo told the Post.