New York incurred a record $732 million in legal costs in the last fiscal year, mostly from claims of police abuse, negligence and hiring discrimination, expenses that accelerated under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The amount accrued in settlements and judgments in the 12 months ended June 30 increased by 40 percent, according to the comptroller’s annual report released last month. The total represents almost 1 percent of the city budget, more than New York spends on parks, recreation and libraries combined. In the previous three years, legal costs averaged $590 million.According the the article in Insurance Journal by Harry Goldman, the majority of that increase came after new mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in in January of this year.
Carol Kellermann, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a business-backed watchdog, said the new administration may not be conservative enough when it comes to using taxpayer money for legal settlements.
“It’s a dramatic increase that’s worrisome because it indicates the new administration may be evaluating cases differently,” Kellermann said. “You walk a fine line between cleaning up backlog and giving New Yorkers the message that you can sue and get a windfall.”Bold, in the above, by HSIB.