New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio ordered the police to clear out homeless people from two subway stations ahead of his four-stop press event on Sunday so that the stations "looked nice," according to a new report.
Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that the police had until 11 a.m. on Sunday to eject those who were "hanging out" at the Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street and Jay Street/MetroTech F train stations.
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Another source put it this way: de Blasio's office let the police know ahead of time about his schedule "with the expectation that the subway stations would be free and clear of homeless people."
De Blasio's trip from his Park Slope gym to his new campaign office in Brooklyn was part of a publicity stunt to call out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) regarding funding for the city's transportation system, the Post reported.
Once aboard, Hizzoner — who was joined by a pack of journalists — launched into a diatribe against Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who last week blamed de Blasio for refusing to spend the city’s $4 billion-plus budget surplus to fix the subways.
"Here’s the truth: They’re not even spending their capital budget," the mayor said. "There’s a huge amount of money sitting there, including the money the city gave. We gave them $2.5 billion a couple of years ago. Almost 90 percent of that money is just sitting there."
De Blasio vowed not to allocate any more funds, saying the state "has used the MTA as a piggy bank" by taking "almost half a billion dollars in money out of the MTA to use for the state budget.
"The governor and Chairman Lhota simply need to get in front of everyone [and] say, ‘We’re fully responsible, we have to fix the problem.’ They have the resources."
Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R.), the presumptive challenger to de Blasio's reelection bid this year, ripped her potential opponent as a hypocrite, given his progressive views on income inequality.
"For someone who claims to care about the most poor New Yorkers, to have someone clear his path when he's about to board the subway … tells you all you need to know about Mayor de Blasio," she said.
A City Hall spokesman denied the allegations and said the Post‘s sources were making false claims.
De Blasio also found himself in an uncomfortable situation last week when a 63-year-old Queen resident began berating him over his treatment of New York police officers. One CBS reporter compared him to the "Cowardly Lion" in The Wizard Of Oz when he fled the confrontation.