New York Daily News

November 17, 2014


 

Rachel Noerdlinger, embattled aide to NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, leaves office as mayor slams 'repulsive' scrutiny by media


Rachel Noerdlinger, the $170,000-a-year chief of staff to Mayor de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, stepped down after the arrest of her 17-year-old son on Friday and a series of embarrassing stories that revealed she was dating a convicted killer.

BY CELESTE KATZ , JENNIFER FERMINO

Embattled City Hall aide Rachel Noerdlinger took an unpaid leave of absence Monday — and Mayor de Blasio angrily blamed her exit on a “repulsive” smear campaign against a “hardworking public servant.”

Noerdlinger is stepping down as First Lady Chirlane McCray’s $170,000-a-year chief of staff in the wake of her teenage son Khari’s arrest last Friday — the latest in a string of embarrassing headlines that began in September when it was revealed she was dating a convicted killer.

“These past two months have been extremely difficult for both of us, and his arrest on Friday heightens the need for me to devote my full attention to Khari, my No. 1 priority,” the single mom said in a statement.


Although de Blasio said she would be welcomed back “if she gets to the point that she decides that’s the right thing to do,” McCray is expected to find a replacement quickly.

In a testy exchange with reporters, de Blasio defended Noerdlinger, 44, a former top aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton who had become a key adviser to both the mayor and his wife.

He said her personal life has been relentlessly and unfairly scrutinized by the media — and even suggested the attacks were similar to the Red-baiting of the Joe McCarthy era.

“We saw this in the 1950s, we’ve seen this throughout the history of this country,” said the mayor, whose own parents were questioned over allegations of Communist sympathies during that time. “If someone wants to smear people and use that for political purposes, there’s a pretty easy playbook for doing it. It’s repulsive.”