Rudy Giuliani late Wednesday denied doing anything wrong with his security detail while New York City mayor but his campaign is looking into the billing process used to cover expenses relating to officers who traveled with Giuliani during his personal trips to the Hamptons.
"I had 24-hour security for the eight years that I was mayor. They followed me everyplace I went. ... And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them. I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately," Giuliani said Wednesday night during a Republican presidential candidates debate.
The mayor's campaign maintains nothing improper occurred by having security accompany Giuliani to the Hamptons or anywhere else he was traveling. However, senior campaign aides told FOX News late Wednesday that former Giuliani Deputy Mayor Joe Lohta is investigating why the New York Police Department billed a variety of city agencies for the charges that it incurred and is working with current administration of Michael Bloomberg for further details.
Politico was first to report that obscure New York City government agencies picked up tens of thousands of dollars in expenses racked up for security detail used by Giuliani during trips to the Hamptons, purportedly to visit paramour Judith Nathan.
The report, confirmed by FOX News, said Giuliani's visits to the Hamptons resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for the New York Police Department security detail.
The GOP presidential candidate later married Nathan, his third wife, and their relationship was widely publicized. But Politico obtained new documents showing that Giuliani transferred travel expenses to mayoral offices that had nothing to do with the trips.
The offices reportedly included the New York City Loft Board, which footed $34,000 of travel expenses, the Office for People with Disabilities and the Procurement Policy Board.
Politico was unable to confirm whether the purpose of all the trips was to see Nathan. But the documents obtained detailed 11 visits spanning three summers to the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment. Most of those trips were not on Giuliani's official schedule.
Giuliani aides would not characterize the nature of his visits to the Hamptons and whether they were in fact visits to Nathan, but other sources did not dispute the story's claims that his visits to Nathan at her home in the Hamptons included security detail.
The billing practices reportedly drew formal attention when the comptroller wrote to new Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002, saying one of his auditors found unexplained expenses in the Loft Board audit. The inquiry broadened from there, later finding that the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office was billed about $400,000 for travel.
At the time, Giuliani's aides reportedly refused to explain the expenses, citing "security."
The New York Police Department has a longstanding policy of refusing private reimbursement for its 24-hour security for the mayor, Giuliani sources said, adding that the New York Police Department comptroller works in concert with the city comptroller as needed to find the money to pay for security using surplus funds from other accounts.
But former members of the the Dinkins and Bloomberg administration said Wednesday they have never had this kind of "creative" billing.
Aides also are upset with the Politico headline, "Giuliani billed obscure agencies for trips," saying it gives the impression that Giuliani was involved in a cover-up. They stress that even though expenses were disbursed in a number of city budgets —- all of them were legitimate since the mayor has 24/7 security.
Privately Giuliani aides say this story, less then 40 days before Iowa, is a drag on the campaign because it is now left having to defend the expenses while tacitly acknowledging the affair.
Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella responded to the Politico story, saying: "At the end of the day, the NYPD is responsible for the mayor’s security 24/7 so everything that is cited in that article is within that purview … wherever he goes they cover him. It’s accounting for travel the mayor did to the Hamptons and other places."
New York Rep. Peter King, who has endorsed Giuliani, also came to his defense.
"The mayor did absolutely nothing improper. He did everything appropriate. The NYPD did everything appropriate, and even if you read the story carefully it does not say the mayor billed anyone for anything," King said. "I can assure you now that everything was done properly and there is absolutely nothing to it."
FOX News' Carl Cameron and Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.