Herman Badillo’s family is taking serious offense at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for not even calling the late congressman's widow to pay his condolences, much less attending Badillo's funeral.
A photo posted on the Village Voice’s website showed the mayor working out at a Brooklyn gym while services were being held Monday at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home in Manhattan for the first Puerto Rican-born U.S. Congressman.
“It was insulting before, that makes it disgraceful,” Gail Badillo told the New York Daily News. “I see where his priorities lie.”
According to the Daily News, the Voice said the photo was taken at 12:15 p.m., the same hour as the funeral.
A City Hall spokesman later said in a statement that Mayor de Blasio regretted he was unable to attend the funeral services. “He will be contacting Mrs. Badillo to express the condolences of a New York City grateful for Herman Badillo's extraordinary leadership and service,” the spokesman said.
Among those who did show up to pay their respects to Badillo were former mayors Rudy Giuliani and David Dinkins, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Police Commissioner William Bratton.
Badillo died last Wednesday at age 85.
The office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. confirmed the death. he died of complications of congestive heart disease at a hospital in Manhattan last Wednesday, according to George Arzt, a political consultant and longtime friend.
"He was a true pioneer of the city. He was the first major Latino to be elected," Arzt said.
In Congress, Badillo concentrated on the problems of inner cities and urged federal help for poor members of minority groups, according to his congressional biography. He also championed the rights of Puerto Ricans, noting in 1971 that they were subject to the draft but couldn't get federal benefits under the food stamp and school milk programs or parts of Social Security.
"I represent the original immigrant," Badillo said. "Everybody says that their parents and grandparents came here and couldn't speak English and they were poor. And in my case it wasn't my parents and grandparents. It was me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.