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Public Wants 'Answers' After Months of Fundraising Probes, Says De Blasio

By Jeff Mays | December 13, 2016 5:10pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has not been called to testify before a grand jury in the federal probe of his fundraising efforts, but that after months of investigations in which he has maintained that he committed no wrongodoing, the public wants answers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has not been called to testify before a grand jury in the federal probe of his fundraising efforts, but that after months of investigations in which he has maintained that he committed no wrongodoing, the public wants answers.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

NEW YORK CITY— Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has not been called to testify before a grand jury in the federal probe of his fundraising efforts, but that after months of investigations in which he has maintained that he committed no wrongdoing, he says the public wants answers.

"I don't know when they'll end," de Blasio said of the probes at an unrelated press conference Tuesday. "I think the people are waiting for answers."

► READ MORE: Here's What We Know About the Probe Into Mayor Bill de Blasio's Fundraising

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating whether donors to de Blasio's now shuttered political nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, received anything in return for their donations.

The nonprofit was outside of city campaign finance system and was able to accept unlimited amounts of money from firms and individuals who had business before the city.

►READ MORE: De Blasio Asked Me for $20K And it Was Hard to Say No, Developer Says

Even though de Blasio says he has not been called to testify in the probe, his top aide Emma Wolfe and the mayor's chief fundraiser, Ross Offinger, have both been issued subpoenas.

BerlinRosen, the consulting firm credited with de Blasio's victory and owned by one of the mayor's closest advisers, Jonathan Rosen, has also been subpoenaed.

The city has allocated $10 million in taxpayer funds over two years to pay for legal representation related to the probes. President-elect Donald Trump recently asked Bharara to stay on as U.S. Attorney.

►READ MORE: De Blasio Probes Could Cost Taxpayers $10M to Cover 2 Years of Legal Fees

As he has done since the probe of his fundraising began, the mayor denied any wrongdoing and said he followed the advice of lawyers and sought guidance from the Conflicts of Interest Board, whose members he appoints with the consent of the City Council.

"People are gonna ask a lot of questions for months, even years. You're going to keep finding the same answer, people did their jobs properly and made decisions based on the merit," said de Blasio who said that the Campaign for One New York was about getting his universal pre-K and affordable housing agenda passed.

"You know there's lots of other situations out there in the world where people tried to line their pockets, work for their personal advantage," said the mayor. "This was about trying to pass policies that would help everyday New Yorkers."