– ” The mayor’s free-spending ways are also being felt in London, where he has been cultivating political leaders and the cultural elite and is expected to spend much of his post-mayoral time “
Outgoing mayor spent vast amounts of personal cash on New York City during 12 years in office, research by New York Times finds
By Philip Sherwell, New York
6:29PM GMT 30 Dec 2013
Michael Bloomberg, the deep-pocketed New York mayor, leaves office at midnight with a staggering new record to his name — he has spent at least $650 million (£400m) of his own money to lead the city for 12 years.
The self-made tycoon used his personal fortune to propel himself into City Hall, smashing all self-financing campaign records as he invested $268 million on three mayoral runs.
But he has lavished at least $380 million more on everything from charitable giving to free lunches to pet projects, and indeed pet fish, according to an exhaustive analysis by The New York Times.
The total is a conservative estimate, the newspaper said. But it represents barely two per cent of his net worth – put at $31 billion by Forbes magazine – from his eponymous financial services and media empire.
The unparalleled blurring of public office and personal wealth has infuriated some, not least the political foes he so hugely outspent along the way; alarmed others for its impact on democratic governance; but also delighted beneficiaries of his extraordinary largesse.
He donated at least $263 million to New York cultural, civic and philanthropic causes. Some recipients were typical targets for the wealthy — he has given the Metropolitan Museum of Art $30 million to pay for audio guides and wireless Internet at the venerable institution.
But he also handed over a similar sum to underwrite projects helping disadvantaged young black and Latino men in low-income districts.
Mr Bloomberg effectively gave the city coffers $2.7 million by only taking $1 of the annual $225,000 salary. He funded all staff travel by private jet on his frequent jaunts, at a total cost of about $6 million.
He also paid for a light breakfast and lunch — healthy eating is one of his many causes — for his aides each day out of his own pocket. And he installed two giant aquariums for his beloved tropical fish at City Hall, financing their maintenance and cleaning each week (estimated cost: $62,400).
It is unlikely that his successor, Bill de Blasio, a career Democrat politician, will even attempt to maintain such extravagences.
Nor was Mr Bloomberg’s outgoings limited to the boundaries of the city’s five boroughs. He has spent at least $20 million across the US to promote issues such as gun control, immigration reform and climate change.
The mayor’s free-spending ways are also being felt in London, where he has been cultivating political leaders and the cultural elite and is expected to spend much of his post-mayoral time.
Mr Bloomberg will be the next chairman of the Serpentine Gallery after his “transformative” but undisclosed donation helped pay for the new extension