Karen Hinton, Mayor de Blasio's press secretary, confirmed Thursday that she will resign after the City's budget is finalized next month, after about a year on the job.
Sources within City Hall told the NY Times that Hinton's decision to resign was not related to the recent spate of controversy surrounding her soon-to-be-former boss. Hinton reportedly sent her letter of resignation on April 6th—after the Mayor's office came under fire for its possible involvement in a $116 million deal to turn a nursing home into luxury apartments, but before U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced that he would investigate the Mayor's campaign fundraising.
Hinton, 57, told the paper that she was leaving her post, in part, to spend more time with her teenage daughter. She reportedly plans to return to her old line of work, serving as a spokeswoman for Ecuadorians pushing back against Chevron's contamination of the Amazon River.
"The mayor's commitment and tenacity have turned progressive values into everyday realities for so many New York City families," she said in a statement Thursday. "I am proud to have been part of that effort and look forward to continuing to support the mayor's future successes."
Mayor de Blasio has become the subject of a handful of investigations since early April, led by Bharara in conjunction with the FBI, as well as Comptroller Scott Stringer's office and the State Attorney General's office. In addition to the controversy surrounding the $116 million nursing home flip, he's been questioned for his support of banning horse carriages, and his relationship to a duo of top donors who have been accused of bribing top NYPD officials.
Last week, following allegations from the state Board of Elections that de Blasio violated campaign finance law by shuttling large donations to three upstate Democrats through county political committees, the Wall Street Journal reported that two of the Mayor's top aids and his PR firm of choice had been issued subpoenas.
De Blasio has said repeatedly that he will cooperate with all investigations, and that "everything we've done from the beginning is legal and appropriate."
Thanks for all the nice shout-outs. Hard decision cuz it's been a year of terrific moments and making many new friends I will never forget.
— Karen Hinton (@KarenHinton) May 6, 2016
Married to Howard Glaser, a former aide to Governor Cuomo, Hinton was hired at a time when the Mayor's public feud with the Governor was just ramping up, apparently to help the Mayor take a stronger stand in the ongoing public spar-fest (Politico NY described her "putative Helen of Troy role" last July). Early on in her stint, during the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in New York, Hinton accused New York State health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker of disrespecting NYC health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett during a press conference. A senior de Blasio aide publicly accused Hinton of going too far.
Earlier this week, the Mayor announced that he had hired a new speech writer and a new social media director. He has yet to announce a replacement for Hinton.
"Karen Hinton has served our Administration with skill, with devotion, with a passionate commitment to others, and she will be missed," de Blasio said in a statement.