Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani Complains About Homeless Man on Upper East Side Street, Takes Shot at de Blasio - NBC New York
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Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani Complains About Homeless Man on Upper East Side Street, Takes Shot at de Blasio

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    In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, Giuliani took a shot at both Bratton and Mayor de Blasio, who recently named a task force to get advice on how to clean up nudity and aggressive panhandling in Times Square. Melissa Russo reports. (Published Monday, Aug. 24, 2015)

    Add former mayor Rudy Giuliani to the thousands of New Yorkers complaining about homelessness.

    In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, Giuliani revealed that he recently filed a complaint about a homeless man camped out on his East Side street.

    "I myself, two weeks ago, had to go to a precinct to complain about a homeless person who was defecating and urinating," he said. "Do you know when people lived on the streets and didn't use bathrooms inside? It's called the Dark Ages."

    Giuliani said his neighbors encouraged him to make the complaint and he was initially met with resistance from the NYPD when he went to the 19th Precinct stationhouse on East 67th Street. Officers told him they were familiar with the homeless man but the owner of the townhouse had given him permission to sleep there.

    "Great," Giuliani said he told police. "Then why doesn't the owner of the townhouse invite him inside?"

    The former mayor said he encouraged the officers to be more aggressive in policing quality-of-life offenses, referring to the strategies he and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton employed in the 1990s to "get rid of" the then-ubiquitous homeless people, squeegee window-washers and panhandlers. 

    "You chase 'em and you chase 'em and you chase 'em and you chase 'em, and they either get the treatment that they need or you chase 'em out of the city," he said.

    Giuliani claims that by the time he returned home, the homeless man was gone and he has not been seen since.

    The former mayor took a shot at both Bratton and Mayor de Blasio, who recently named a task force to get advice on how to clean up nudity and aggressive panhandling in Times Square.

    "I didn't need a task force," he said. "It was me and Bratton. My brain. His people."

    De Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton returned fire, saying, "We want to thank the former Mayor Giuliani for his brain."

    "However, instead of 'getting rid' of people, Mayor de Blasio wants to implement long-term solutions to homelessness, building new shelters, providing supportive services and ensuring the mentally ill homeless receive the care they need," she said.

    An NYPD spokesman said officers located the homeless man reported by Giuliani at 66th Street and Park Avenue at about 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 5. He said it took them a couple of days to find him after Giuliani filed the report.

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    Police brought the man to New York Presbyterian Hospital, and he was referred to homeless services.

    Giuliani said he doesn't know whether the NYPD gave his complaint special treatment, but some of his East 66th Street neighbors applauded him for apparently using his clout to clean their street.

    "Thank God for Rudy doing that because that needs to be done a lot more often," said neighbor Julie Kessler.

    Pauline Gilbert said she thinks the homeless man will make his way back despite Giuliani's complaints.

    "Tell him not to hold his breath," she said.

    A de Blasio administration official said "homelessness has been on the rise for the past 12 years because housing budgets have been slashed. People often have nowhere to go."

    Giuliani says: "I had a rule. You don't get to live on the streets."

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    The homeless advocacy group Coalition Against Hunger blasted Giuliani's remarks to NBC 4 New York, issuing a statement that called the former mayor's statements "as morally appalling as they are fact-averse." 

    The statement from executive director Joel Berg went on to say: "Not only is pushing homeless New Yorkers – most of whom are women and children – outside of their hometown immoral and illegal, but it only creates problems for other cities and states, exactly the opposite of the kind of personal responsibility of leadership that Rudy likes to brag about."

    "Moreover, Giuliani exhibited extreme amnesia over the reality that his own failed, illegal policies on poverty significantly fueled the multi-decade homelessness epidemic in New York City," Berg said. 

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