By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff
As mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani's office shifted money into obscure accounts to pay his travel expenses, but it is "not likely" the odd accounting methods were designed to hide trips to see a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, a New York Times review of city records has concluded.
In a "Checkpoint" segment examining the allegations published last month by The Politico, the newspaper said today it reviewed city records that account for 93 percent of the $632,119 in out-of-city travel expenses for Giuliani's office from 1999 through 2001. However, backup records for $40,000 of that total had not yet been located by the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Giuliani's successor, the newspaper said.
Of the total, $350,781 was billed directly to the mayor's office and $281,338 was charged to obscure city agencies. In Giuliani's office account, $5,584 was for eight trips to the Hamptons in 1999 and 2000, the Times said, while $2,474 linked to the Hamptons trips was billed to "unusual accounts," less than one percent of all the expenses. Judith Nathan, with whom Giuliani was romantically involved at the time, had an apartment in the Hamptons section of Long Island.
The last category were bills for expenses such as hotels and gasoline for Giuliani's police security detail, which accompanied him around the clock. The Police Department would reimburse all the other agencies by the end of the fiscal year, Giuliani's campaign said in response to the initial report, which one former Giuliani aide termed "salacious."
Of the unusual accounting, the Times report concluded: "It's still not clear why Mr. Giuliani's office did that, or why it began prepaying its American Express bills, both practices that former administrations frowned upon ... But the records reviewed so far ... suggest that Mr. Giuliani's efforts to see Ms Nathan, who is now his wife, had nothing to do with any accounting legerdemain."
"This proves what we've been saying from the beginning - that all security expenses were appropriate, paid for properly and completely transparent," Randy Mastro, a former deputy mayor under Giuliani, said in a statement issued by Giuliani's presidential campaign.
The Politico's report on Nov. 28, just before a Republican debate, coincided with the start of a slide in the polls for Giuliani, who is floundering in Iowa, losing ground in New Hampshire, and now without a clear lead in national surveys.
A spokeswoman for The Politico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.