Report: Bloomberg spent $650 million of own money on being mayor


New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, right, meets with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at City Hall in New York after the November election. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The New York Times reports that outgoing three-term New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) spent at least $650 million of his personal fortune on being mayor -- from his campaigns to flying around on a private plane.

Bloomberg takes a salary of just $1 and spends his own money on many expenses of the job.

From Michael Barbaro and Kitty Bennett:

An analysis by The New York Times shows that Mr. Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.)

In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job.

In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor.

In moves that would make a financial planner’s head spin, he rejected the $2.7 million worth of salary to which he was entitled (accepting just $1 a year) and, starting in 2001, turned on a spigot of cash that has never stopped gushing. He poured at least $268 million of his personal funds into three campaigns for mayor.

He donated at least another $263 million to New York arts, civic, health and cultural groups, personally and through his company, Bloomberg LP.

Campaign donations? He handed out about $23 million of them.

He even chipped in $5 million to renovate an official mayoral residence that he never inhabited. (He preferred the familiar privacy of his own nearby mansion.)

The spending spree is about to end. Bill de Blasio will be sworn in as mayor on Wednesday.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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Aaron Blake · December 30, 2013