City Hall claims it only had the victims’ best interests in mind, but the news that Mayor de Blasio’s acting chief of staff was allowed to quietly resign with no public disclosure after substantiated claims of sexual harassment sure sounds like another coverup.
This, after all, is an administration that has already done its best to try to bury its #MeToo problem.
Turns out Kevin O’Brien was forced to resign last February after investigators found his account of the incidents “not credible” and recommended he be fired.
To its credit, Team de Blasio acted quickly once it learned of the allegations. But no public disclosure of the findings was ever made — not even that O’Brien had left the mayor’s payroll.
News only leaked out now when The New York Times obtained a heavily redacted report (with no specific details) via the Freedom of Information law.
After quitting (with six weeks of accrued vacation time), O’Brien landed at Hilltop, the consulting firm headed by two of de Blasio’s “agents of the city” and that collected hundreds of thousands of dollars doing for the mayor’s campaigns and nonprofit. Was Hilltop helping keep the whole thing quiet, or did none of its pals at City Hall tip it off to why O’Brien had left?
Team de Blasio claims “making a spectacle of his resignation” would have helped identify the victims, who want to remain anonymous, and dissuaded victims in other cases from coming forward. Perhaps.
But City Hall’s record here isn’t good. It waited months, despite repeated requests, before finally ’fessing up last April that taxpayers had been forced to shell out $6 million to settle 34 city government harassment cases under de Blasio through 2017.
The mayor’s minions (who dumped the damning info late on a Friday) also disclosed that there were 221 substantiated cases — including five in the mayor’s own office.
This administration, it seems, is all for transparency — as long as de Blasio’s not the one being publicly embarrassed.
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