Bloomberg under fire for weekend helicopter trips
Despite numerous complaints and alleged video evidence of the mayor using his helicopter after-hours at the East 34th Street heliped on weekends, a spokesman said hizzoner has not broken the rules.
Amy Sticco and her husband, Ron, taped several instances that allegedly show Mayor Michael Bloomberg using his private helicopter at the site during the weekends, which is against the helipad's rules.
Amy, a stay-at-home mom, said her family and her neighbors cannot enjoy their weekends because of the helicopter's noise and fumes.
"If the rules are Monday through Friday, everyone has to abide by them, even the mayor," she said. "He's not special."
The helipad, which is owned by the city's Economic Development Corporation, was forced by a court order 10 years ago to limit its hours to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. following complaints from residents.
The mayor's spokesman, Stu Loeser, said it was his understanding that the helipad could be used by the mayor for takeoffs and landings only on weekends and not for refueling.
Jeff Smith, the chair of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, a trade association of helicopter pilots, backed the mayor and said the helipad can be used after-hours for "emergency and public service use."
WABC/7 broke the story Tuesday night and aired the footage that purportedly shows the mayor landing and taking off nine times last weekend. In one of the instances, Bloomberg, who is a licensed pilot, and his girlfriend Diana Taylor exit the aircraft with her two dogs.
"It didn't look like he was on official business," Amy Sticco said.
The manager of the helipad declined to address the complaints.
Sticco and her husband said they began recording the after-hours flights with their iPhones six months ago after requests to the mayor's office, 311 and other agencies failed to rectify the problem.
Amy added the mayor is not the only one who violates the rules as she has seen other millionaires take off during the weekend, some with bigger aircrafts.
"We had one helicopter that lands sometimes in 7:30 in the morning [on weekends], and it shakes the building," she said.