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Comptroller questioned Giuliani's security spending

  • Story Highlights
  • Giuliani billed New York $34,000 for security and travel during trips to the Hamptons
  • Officials in 2002 questioned the charges
  • Auditors denied information on bills "due to security concerns"
  • Giuliani spokesman says all charges were legitimate
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The New York city comptroller's office in 2002 raised red flags about former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's $34,000 in security and travel spending on trips to the Hamptons.

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Former New York Mayor and current presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani says he has no direct knowledge of how the spending records were handled.

The charges were spread among departments under his control, city records show.

The comptroller's office questioned the expenses after Giuliani -- now a Republican presidential candidate -- left office.

Asked about the controversy during Wednesday night's Republican debate, sponsored by CNN, Giuliani said he was not responsible for how the expenses were reported.

"They took care of me, and they took care of their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them," he said "I had nothing to do with the handling of their records. They were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."

Giuliani said he had a 24-hour security detail for the entirety of his two four-year terms as mayor.

Earlier Wednesday, a Giuliani adviser told CNN the mayor was constantly accompanied by bodyguards, whether at work or on vacation.

"These were all legitimate expenses incurred while protecting the mayor, which is a 24/7 enterprise," said Tony Carbonetti, who was deputy chief of staff and chief of staff during Giuliani's tenure as mayor. He said he did not know why the costs were allocated to agencies within the mayor's office and not the New York Police Department, which provided officers to protect Giuliani, but said the Giuliani campaign would look into the issue.

But the comptroller's office questioned why the expenses were charged to offices such as the city's Loft Board, which regulates the conversion of industrial buildings into housing. During a 2002 audit, the agency's director denied the board incurred $34,000 in travel costs on its books, City Comptroller William Thompson wrote in a letter to Giuliani's successor, Michael Bloomberg.

Giuliani's office had refused to provide details of the expenses when questioned, the auditors said Wednesday.

"The comptroller's office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002, but was informed that due to security concerns the information could not be provided," spokesman Jeff Simmons said in a written statement to CNN.

In their 2002 letter, Thompson's auditors also raised questions about more than $500,000 in non-local travel expenses billed to other arms of the mayor's office in the 2000 and 2001 budget years, urging Bloomberg to investigate further. They included the Office of Emergency Management and the Office for People with Disabilities.

Bloomberg's office did not respond to inquiries from CNN about the matter.

The issue was first reported by the Washington Web site Politico.com, which said it obtained the comptroller's records under New York's freedom of information laws. CNN obtained the same documents later Wednesday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's John King, Mark Preston and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.

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