The day after Mayor Adams’ administration declared overcrowding in city homeless shelters an emergency, the official tasked with running the embattled housing system went partying on a yacht with his top aide, the Daily News has learned.
Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins — who’s facing a Department of Investigation probe over his alleged mishandling of the shelter crisis — enjoyed the boat bash in the New York Harbor with his chief of staff, Karen St. Hilaire, on Aug. 2, complete with cocktails and sunset views over Manhattan, social media photos show.
St. Hilaire posted the pictures on her Instagram account the same day as the shindig, but eventually deleted them. The News obtained screengrabs of the since-scrubbed images from a source who confirmed the date of the party.
“Thinking of a master plan,” St. Hilaire captioned one of the deleted photos showing Jenkins gazing out over the harbor with a drink in his hand.
Another photo shows that Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Mayor Adams’ chief City Hall adviser, tagged along with St. Hilaire and Jenkins for the sunset ride.
“I’m both the Lion and Goat at the door of his office,” St. Hilaire captioned a third photo of herself and Jenkins posing on the boat. “Being a Chief of Staff is not for the faint at heart. Got his left and right.”
After The News reached out for comment from the Social Services Department on Tuesday, St. Hilaire made her previously public Instagram profile private, meaning only followers she pre-approves can now see her photos.
A department spokeswoman declined to say why St. Hilaire deleted the photos from Instagram and would not say who owns the boat or describe the nature of the party. The rep did say it was “a private event that occurred during non-work hours.”
“This was a private event that people attended on their personal time and in their personal capacity. Commissioner Jenkins and the entire DSS staff work day in and day out to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” the spokeswoman said.
Adams, who has defended Jenkins in the face of the Department of Investigation inquiry, declined to comment via a spokesman.
The day before Jenkins’ ocean-bound sojourn, the commissioner and Adams announced they had issued an emergency declaration to procure more shelter services for the thousands of Latin American migrants who have arrived in the city in recent weeks after crossing the U.S. southern border in hopes of seeking asylum.
“We can no longer wait — and this declaration will allow the city to procure sorely needed additional resources as quickly as possible,” Adams said in a statement.