Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he views a top administration aide’s relationship with an ex-felon as “case closed” after an investigation found Rachel Noerdlinger did not intend to deceive City Hall by withholding information about her boyfriend.
Noerdlinger, chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray, did not disclose on a New York City Department of Investigation background questionnaire that Hassaun McFarlan lived with her, the agency determined Friday after a formal review.
McFarlan, 36, has a lengthy criminal history and was convicted in 1993 as a teenager of fatally shooting a man. He served prison time.
De Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak characterized Noerdlinger’s failure to disclose the living situation as an “omission,” and added, “DOI found no evidence of intent to deceive the mayor or City Hall.” City Hall believes no punitive action is necessary, Walzak said.
The mayor on Monday at an unrelated news conference in Staten Island criticized the direction of “public discourse,” saying it wrongly involves public figures’ families.
“This notion of ‘let’s talk about people’s boyfriends, let’s talk about their children,’ it’s just going too far,” he told reporters. “This does not have a lot to do with public service. She’s a good public servant,” he said of Noerdlinger.
News website DNAInfo.com first reported McFarlan’s criminal history and said he used Facebook to express anti-police sentiments and call them “pigs.” Police unions, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, have raised concerns about Noerdlinger’s access to sensitive law enforcement information.
The New York Post reported last week that Noerdlinger’s teenage son played on his high school football team after being involved in two car accidents, despite the fact that Noerdlinger has a waiver to live in Edgewater, New Jersey, so her son can receive medical care for injuries he suffered in the accidents.
The waiver permits Noerdlinger, a former aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton, to live outside the five boroughs, though top city employees are required to be residents. De Blasio called the waiver “appropriate.”?