Rachel Noerdlinger, First Lady’s Chief of Staff, Takes Leave of Absence

(Photo: NY Daily News)

Rachel Noerdlinger has been making headlines for the past few months, though most of the news has been about her boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan who, as a teenager, was convicted of manslaughter. But today, Noerdlinger announced she was stepping down after her teenage son, Khari, was arrested for trespassing. On Friday night, Khari and his friends were reportedly found drinking and generally acting like teenagers in the lobby of an apartment building in Washington Heights. The New York Post reported the incident on Saturday evening and shared video of Noerdlinger’s son leaving court.

“I can handle criticism and scrutiny of me, even when it’s mean spirited—that comes with the territory when you take on the status quo,” Noerdlinger said at a press conference this morning. “But increasingly, my son has been subjected to attacks that have nothing to do with the public interest, and everything to do with derailing this administration. I do not want to be a distraction—the work at hand is far too urgent.”

Noerdlinger, who is Chirlane McCray’s top aide, first faced intense criticism when it was revealed that she failed to indicate on a questionnaire issued by the Department of Investigation that McFarlan lives with her. De Blasio’s aides told reporters the Mayor already knew about the relationship, and that Noerdlinger would not be disciplined for providing the misleading information.

Amongst other examples of scrutiny faced by Noerdlinger, back in October DNAinfo reported the First Lady’s aide had almost $900 in unpaid parking tickets amongst other “car troubles.” In addition to attention from the media, Noerdlinger has also received criticism from powerful interest groups. The Village Voice published a detailed account today of the “police unions’ recent publicity offensive” against Noerdlinger.

For his part, the Mayor once again came to Noerdlinger’s defense today, calling the scrutiny of her family unfair and “repulsive.”

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