New York City's five district attorneys have tried for months to get a group meeting with Mayor de Blasio to discuss crucial budget and public safety issues, as they have with past mayors, but their requests have been ignored, NBC 4 New York has learned.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson sent an email on behalf of the group in March to meet with the mayor, according to sources familiar with the request.
In the email, Johnson acknowledged de Blasio’s "tight schedule" and asked that the mayor meet with him and the other four district attorneys at his convenience to discuss "how to work together" in the best interest of the city.
"We feel that we are an important part of the city's efforts to provide public safety. We wish to continue our cooperation with NYPD and your office," the email said, according to a copy obtained by NBC 4 New York. "I believe that a conversation in which you are provided with a closer look at our offices' prosecution and prevention efforts will help to foster our mutual goals."
Johnson's office said the mayor's scheduler responded, "Thank you, we will be in touch," but the mayor's office never followed up.
Phone requests for meetings followed, sources said, but no meeting was arranged.
While the five district attorneys are independent elected officials, City Hall funds their offices, and their budgets directly affect their respective caseload capacities.
Sources inside the offices of multiple district attorneys tell NBC 4 New York the top prosecutors' difficulty getting a group meeting with the mayor has left them feeling "frustrated," "disappointed" and "confused."
Those sources said the district attorneys had no issues scheduling meetings with former Mayor Bloomberg.
De Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak said a meeting would be scheduled.
"The mayor looks forward to meeting with the five DAs. We will be scheduling a meeting with Mayor de Blasio and all five District Attorneys in the near future," Walzak said.
Walzak said that City Hall has increased the district attorneys' budgets by $19 million each year for the next four years, an indication that they are not "low priority."
He also said that the administration has had communication with the district attorneys despite not having a formal meeting on the calendar.
"Our team has engaged with all five district attorneys on multiple issues from domestic violence to preventing violent crime, through many different agencies on many different levels," Walzak said.
One senior official inside a district attorney's office contrasted the top prosecutors’ difficulty getting a meeting with de Blasio and the Rev. Al Sharpton's seemingly unlimited access to the mayor.
Jacky Johnson, a spokeswoman for Sharpton, tells NBC 4 New York Sharpton estimates he has met with de Blasio 15 to 20 times since his term began, some of them at public news conferences.
Many of those meetings came in the aftermath of the death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island father who died in police custody after being put into a chokehold in July.
Sharpton runs the National Action Network and is a talk show host on MSNBC, which is owned by WNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal.