For New York’s Finest

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Earlier this evening we noted that the new line from the Giuliani camp is that the Shag Fund’s convoluted financing was put in place to help the cops on Rudy’s security detail. Giuliani spinmeister Joe Lohta told the AP that “was necessary because the police officers did not make a lot of money and their department took up to two months to repay them for their travel expenses. So Giuliani’s office got a credit card and paid it off with funds from the various agencies.”

Lohta gave a little more detail to Newsday. Lohta told the paper “the practice started when officers on his security detail complained that the police department was slow to reimburse them for rental cars and lodging.”

Not to state the obvious again, but this doesn’t tell us anything about why the expenses were squirreled away in the budgets of obscure city offices. It’s non-responsive. But is it even true? I’ve basically got two-to-three reporters on this story. And I’m a pretty rough boss so I’ve got them working a bunch of other stuff too. But someone needs to find out who the cops were and just ask them: is that true? Is that how it happened?

So why were they squirreled away? The Times quotes Lhota as saying, “I’ve continued to try to find out.” But he’s not just some flack brought in to figure out the story. For part of Rudy’s term he was the city budget director. It’s a big city and there’s a lot more to do than manage the Shag Fund. But he’s still trying to find out?

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