Monday, June 20, 2016

NYPD Chiefs Michael J. Harrington, James M. Grant, and David Villanueva Arrested on Federal Corruption Charges

Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, left, and Deputy Inspector James Grant

Here's List of Bribes 4 Arrested NYPD Officials Are Accused of Taking

LINK
By Peter Duffy | June 20, 2016 6:43pm
James Grant

NEW YORK CITY — Lavish trips, private jets, gifts and a prostitute. 
Court documents show the extensive list of goods and services received by four NYPD officials who were arrested Monday and charged with accepting bribes in exchange for police escorts, access and gun licenses.
Here's a breakdown of the ill-gotten gains listed in court documents:
Deputy Inspector James Grant
Las Vegas Trip, February 2013
• Grant received round-trip travel to Las Vegas on a private jet, a value of $59,000. 
• One of the passengers on the jet was a prostitute who then stayed in Grant's room and who spent the weekend in Las Vegas with Grant and his friends who "took advantages of her services during the trip," according to the indictment. 
• Grant's rooms and meals were comped during the trip.
Rome Trip, August 2013
• Grant and his family enjoyed a two-night stay in two hotel rooms in Rome, a value of $1,066. 
Other Financial Benefits
• Grant had the railings replaced outside of his Staten Island home, a value of approximately $6,000. 
• The windows were replaced in Grant's home, which cost approximately $6,000. 
• Grant's watch was upgraded, a value of approximately $3,000. 
• On Christmas Day in 2013, Grant received a video game system for his children and a piece of jewelry for his wife, a value of approximately $1,000. 
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington
Chicago Trip, 2014
• Harrington and family members stayed in a downtown Chicago hotel with three rooms for four nights and one room for two nights, a cost of approximately $6,500. 
Other Financial Benefits
• Between May 2013 and November 2014, Harrington was taken to dinner at least once or twice a week, typically at pricey Manhattan restaurants. The bill generally ran between $400 and $500. 
• Harrington received tickets to numerous sporting events, including two $400 tickets to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2014 and two $700 tickets for the New York Rangers in May 2014.
• On Christmas Day in 2013, Harrington received a video game system for his kids.
• For a period of 15 months, Harrington's security company was hired to work at a Manhattan school, receiving $5,000 per month for its services.
Sgt. David Villanueva
Villanueva received:
• Thousands of dollars in bribes.
• Bottles of liquor.
• Limousine rides.
• A limousine tour of wineries.
Officer Richard Ochetal
• Ochetal received cash and benefits.


3 New York Police Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges

LINK

Three New York Police Department commanders, including a deputy chief, were arrested early Monday, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges stemming from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The arrests, of a deputy chief, a deputy inspector and a sergeant, were one of the most significant roundups of police supervisors in the recent history of the department. In striking the top ranks, the case is a particular blow to the storied — and sometimes sullied — reputation of the nation’s largest municipal police force.
The charges detail lavish gifts the two senior police officials are accused of receiving: complimentary Super Bowl tickets, expensive meals and free overseas trips, including at least one taken in the company of a prostitute, the people said. The sergeant was charged in a scheme that involved aiding applicants for firearms licenses.
The gifts were largely paid for by two businessmen, both of whom have been generous supporters of the mayor. Jeremiah Reichberg, 42, of Borough Park, Brooklyn, was charged along with the officers, the people said. Jona S. Rechnitz, 33, of the Upper West Side, had been a target of the fund-raising investigation until recent weeks, when he pleaded guilty to corruption charges and began cooperating with the federal authorities, the people said.
The arrests in the early morning hours by agents with the F.B.I. and investigators from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau were followed by the execution of search warrants, the people said. The charges included bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy, and they were scheduled to be announced at a news conference later on Monday.
Arrested were Deputy Chief Michael J. Harrington, 50; Deputy Inspector James M. Grant, 43; and Sgt. David Villanueva, 42. They were expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
While the charges being leveled against the police officials were uncovered during the fund-raising investigation focused on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and his inner circle, there has been no suggestion that the mayor himself was involved in the conduct described in the charging documents in the case, which are expected to be unsealed Monday morning. The fund-raising investigation and several other inquiries by federal prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other agencies focused on the mayor’s donors and fund-raising were continuing. The scope of the broader fund-raising inquiries remains unclear.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has said the department believes investigators have identified all of the police officials involved in the alleged misconduct, though it is unknown whether the charges on Monday will conclude that line of inquiry by federal prosecutors, F.B.I. agents and Internal Affairs investigators.
The particular fund-raising investigation that led to these arrests has been going on for well over a year, and in recent months, details of some of the accusations against the police officials who have been charged — and others — have been widely reported in news accounts. Nearly a dozen mostly senior police officials have been disciplined by the Police Department in some way as a result of the inquiry — including some of those charged on Monday. Those disciplined include five deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector; four of the chiefs and the deputy inspector have put in for retirement.
Mr. Rechnitz’s cooperation with federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents has already helped prosecutors bring corruption charges in another case linked to the same fund-raising investigation, people briefed on the matter have said. In that case, a criminal complaint unsealed on June 8 charged Norman Seabrook, the powerful head of the union that represents city correction officers, and Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund financier, with honest services fraud and conspiracy.
That complaint said Mr. Rechnitz had pleaded guilty to committing honest services fraud in connection with the scheme in which Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld were charged, “among other things,” suggesting he was involved in additional criminal conduct. While the document does not identify Mr. Rechnitz by name, referring to him only as CW-1, or Cooperating Witness 1, several people with knowledge of the matter said CW-1 was Mr. Rechnitz. At a news conference announcing the arrests of Mr. Seabrook and Mr. Huberfeld, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office filed the complaint, would not answer questions about the identity of CW-1 or the degree to which the witness could be helpful in other cases.
But Mr. Bharara indicated that the witness was “assisting other investigations.”
The criminal complaint in the earlier case details two trips that Mr. Rechnitz, Mr. Seabrook and another businessman — also a supporter of the mayor — took to the Dominican Republic. On the first one, in November 2013, they were accompanied by an unnamed officer from the Police Department. On the second one, in December 2014, the four men were accompanied by a fifth unnamed person. Mr. Rechnitz paid for the airfare for both trips.
Then, in March 2014, Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Rechnitz, the police officer and the other businessman — Mr. Reichberg, who was identified in the criminal complaint as Co-Conspirator 1 or CC-1 — traveled to Israel, with Mr. Rechnitz paying the airfare, according to the complaint. In July of that year, he paid for the same group to travel to Las Vegas and then Burbank, Calif., the complaint said.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Norman Seabrook is Arrested. What Happens Now With Riker's Island Reform?

In New York City, the only way anything gets done is by paying off the bad guys. Then you get caught.

Goodbye Norman Seabrook, thanks for everything.

Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com

re-posted from The NYC Public Voice:

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2016

With Norman Seabrook's Arrest, What Happens To Riker's Island Reform?


Norman Seabrook after he was arraigned on corruption charges on Wednesday in
Manhattan.

Norman Seabrook’s Ouster as Union Chief May Complicate Overhaul at Rikers


LINK


In his two decades as leader of the nation’s largest municipal correction officers’ union, Norman Seabrook managed to consolidate near-total control, his authority on the cellblocks of Rikers Island often eclipsing that of commissioners and mayors.


But with his arrest this week on corruption charges, it would appear that Mr. Seabrook’s reign is on the verge of collapse. On Thursday, he was ousted as union president and replaced for now by his second in command.


The biggest question is how this affects the efforts underway to reform the Rikers jail complex. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has invested enormous political capital and hundreds of millions of dollars to remake New York City’s jails and to end the violence and corruption that has long plagued them.


Mr. Seabrook has been a fierce opponent of many of the changes being put in place at Rikers, particularly the scaling back of solitary confinement, which will soon be eliminated for all inmates under age 22.


But as the lone voice for the city’s 9,000 correction officers, his willingness to cooperate with at least some of the reform efforts was important. He was a strongman, but one who gave voice and coherence to a group of workers split among more than a dozen facilities and three shifts.


Among the rank-and-file, Mr. Seabrook commanded tremendous loyalty. Unlike the department officials and the commissioners who came and went, he was one of them, a correction officer born in the Bronx and raised poor as one of eight children. He was also a black man leading a heavily black union, sensitive to racial issues on the job and in the community.


At graduation ceremonies, new recruits would watch the droning speeches of officials with barely disguised boredom. When Mr. Seabrook took the stage — often to disparage those previous speakers to their faces — they were on their feet.


In those ways, his absence could pose headaches to reformers.


No matter how ambitious the reform agenda of Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, may be, it can go nowhere without the support of the men and women who work the cellblocks.


With Mr. Seabrook gone, the question is, Who will speak for them now?


During his tenure as president, Mr. Seabrook quashed any potential challengers and never groomed a strong successor. His 14-member executive board is considered weak, commanding none of the loyalty among members that he has long enjoyed.


“Norman is a tyrant,” said William Valentin, who spent five years on the executive board and was kicked out by Mr. Seabrook in August 2015. “The executive board is pretty much under his control. They really don’t argue with him too much. Whatever he says goes.”


Understanding Mr. Seabrook’s outsized importance on the cellblocks requires understanding the history of the city’s Correction Department. By the end of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a Republican turned political independent, there was a real power vacuum in the department. It was considered a low priority, and the commissioner at the time, Dora B. Schriro, was a weak leader.


Mr. Seabrook stepped into that void, his power perhaps reaching its apex in fall 2013, when he almost single-handedly shut down the city court system by directing his members in a work stoppage that halted almost all of the buses that ferry inmates to and from court.


A judge complained that the court system had been “held hostage,” and Mr. Bloomberg sued the union. But Mr. Seabrook emerged unscathed.


Even after Mr. de Blasio took office in 2014 and appointed the reform-minded Joseph Ponte as correction commissioner, Mr. Seabrook continued to behave as if he were in charge of Rikers. He called a news conference in which he derided Mr. Ponte as a “hug a thug” yokel from Maine who was out of his league.


Mr. de Blasio seemed to go out of his way early on in his administration to try to cultivate the union leader. During the height of the Ebola crisis in late 2014, for example, the mayor took a break from emergency preparations to attend a charity dinner hosted by Mr. Seabrook at a Bronx ballroom. In a speech, Mr. de Blasio described him as “a friend” and “a great leader in this town.”


But the landscape was changing. News organizations and city investigators were exposing a culture of pervasive brutality in the jails. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office filed charges against Mr. Seabrook on Wednesday, eventually joined a class-action lawsuit that led to intervention by a federal monitor. And the new mayor took an aggressive stance, vowing to remake Rikers.


Faced with constant obstruction by Mr. Seabrook, who often told his members that Rikers was “our house,” the administration sought ways to circumvent him. Perhaps the most important sign that the balance of power had shifted was a decision by Mr. Ponte to exclude Mr. Seabrook from a behind-the-scenes deal to significantly cut back on the use of solitary confinement. Mr. Seabrook stood at a public meeting and harshly criticized the administration, but the deal to end isolation for all inmates under 22 was done.


Mr. Seabrook continued to bluster publicly about the changes, once showing up outside City Hall with a coffin, meant to represent the dangers facing jail officers. But he also worked with the administration to improve training and to raise hiring standards.


Speaking about Mr. Seabrook’s arrest, Mr. de Blasio described his relationship with the union leader as “fraught.”


“Sometimes he was willing to work with us,” the mayor said. “Sometimes he wasn’t.”


Now there is great uncertainty about what comes next for the union.


Mr. Seabrook is set to run unopposed in unionwide elections this summer. Ballots have already been distributed to the membership, and for now, the plan is to let the election continue as scheduled, according to a union official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to discuss internal union business publicly.


If there are no challenges, the official said, the role of president will be fulfilled for the foreseeable future by Elias Husamudeen, Mr. Seabrook’s trusted second in command.
From Elias Husamudeen – President of COBA:
"We are saddened and concerned by these allegations, but would point out that Mr. Seabrook is innocent of these charges until proven otherwise and we look forward to him having his day in court. But let’s be clear, the current leadership of COBA will remain focused on protecting the women and men in uniform who risk their lives working in our jails every day. Our officers face an increase in gang violence, an increase in encounters with the mentally ill that they are inadequately trained for, and an increase in overtime that is pushing them to the brink. These issues are too important to allow for distractions."
Norman Seabrook at his office
At Rikers Island, Union Chief’s Clout Is a Roadblock to Reform
Riker's Island Jail Complex

LINK
With brutality by guards at the Rikers Island jail complex rising at an alarming rate, the chief investigator for the New York City Correction Department stood before a roomful of senior officers and union leaders in the summer of 2012 and outlined her plans to crack down on abuse and send more cases to prosecutors.
Riker's Jail
The presentation infuriated one man in particular, Norman Seabrook, the powerful president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, who believed the incidents should be handled internally. For the next two years he did everything in his power to get rid of the investigator, Florence Finkle. He helped scuttle some of her investigations, got one of her top people transferred, called for her resignation and denounced her on his weekly radio show.


In August, he finally got his wish: Ms. Finkle was forced out, replaced by a former senior Police Department official — a childhood friend of Mr. Seabrook’s.


Over his two decades as president of the union, Mr. Seabrook has come to exert extraordinary control over the Correction Department, consulting with commissioners on key appointments, forging alliances with high-ranking uniformed correction leaders and, more recently, speaking regularly with Mayor Bill de Blasio about department policy. His influence has paid enormous dividends for his members, but it has also fed a culture of violence and corruption at Rikers, an investigation by The New York Times found.


The investigation involved scores of interviews, with former correction commissioners, former senior City Hall aides, and current and former department officials, and reviews of internal emails and other documents, as well as several lengthy interviews with Mr. Seabrook himself. What emerged was a portrait of a labor leader who wields remarkable power through a combination of political savvy and intimidation.


“I came to think that my wardens believed Norman was more important to their career than I was,” said Martin F. Horn, who served as commissioner from 2003 to 2009.


Mr. Seabrook’s power has cut two ways.


Under his leadership, correction officers, long overlooked among the city’s uniformed services, have seen large gains in salary and pension benefits, reaching parity with firefighters and police officers. Like Mr. Seabrook, the overwhelming majority of his members are black. They have risen to dominate the top ranks of the department, making it far more diverse than the Police and Fire Departments, where most of the leadership is white.


But current and former city officials repeatedly described Mr. Seabrook as the biggest obstacle to efforts to curb brutality and malfeasance at Rikers. He has vigorously resisted stiffer penalties for the use of excessive force by guards and has fought stronger screening measures designed to stop correction officers from smuggling weapons and drugs into the jails. Time and again, Mr. Seabrook has shielded his members from serious punishment when investigators like Ms. Finkle have tried to go after them.


Last year, when prosecutors charged 10 officers in a beating that fractured an inmate’s nose and eye sockets, Mr. Seabrook vigorously defended them.


“Here we have correction officers paraded into court for merely defending themselves,” he said. “The officers did everything that they were supposed to do.”


Much of Mr. Seabrook’s influence within the department comes from a fear of what he might do to those who cross him. The Times spoke with about a dozen current and former senior city officials, both inside and outside the department, who have dealt with him regularly over the years and were privately critical of him. But almost no one would be quoted discussing Mr. Seabrook, citing concerns that he could sabotage their careers. Some also expressed fears about their safety while visiting Rikers, worrying that a correction officer might look the other way if an inmate suddenly got violent.


“He’s a bully,” said Daniel Dromm, a city councilman who has openly clashed with Mr. Seabrook on several occasions. “They’re afraid of him.”


3 New York City Correction Officials to Step Down Amid Scrutiny of Rikers


In a major shake-up at the New York City Correction Department, three high-ranking officials, including the top uniformed officer, are stepping down amid mounting criticism over the handling of violence and corruption at Rikers Island.


The chief of department, William Clemons, and two deputies — Joandrea Davis, the bureau chief of administration, and Gregory McLaughlin, the bureau chief of facility operations — are departing, correction officials said. The surprise departures came just five months after all three were appointed to their current posts by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s correction commissioner, Joseph Ponte.


A department spokesman said the changes were the result of “a restructuring” by Mr. Ponte in an effort to halt brutality on the most violent cellblocks.


The department has been under intense pressure from lawmakers and federal and city investigators to address systemic brutality and corruption at Rikers, the country’s second-largest jail complex. The United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which in August released a damning report detailing abuse of adolescent inmates at Rikers, has threatened to sue the city if changes are not made.


The highest-ranking official in the group, Mr. Clemons, is a 29-year veteran of the department. But he has been under scrutiny since an investigation by The New York Times in September uncovered details from an internal Correction Department audit that found he had “abdicated all responsibility” in his duties as warden of a juvenile facility at Rikers in 2011, where hundreds of inmate fights had been omitted from official statistics. The audit recommended that he be demoted.


Instead, he was promoted several times. And The Times found that large sections of the audit, including the recommendation for demotion and the sharpest criticism, were removed from the report by the previous commissioner, Dora B. Schriro.


Mr. Ponte has said he did not see the unedited version of the report before appointing Mr. Clemons chief of department in May. The commissioner promoted him over the objections of the city’s Department of Investigation, The Times found.


In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Mr. Ponte wrote that Mr. Clemons had “proved himself an able leader” and “was a model of stability in a tumultuous time.” Mr. Ponte said he would appoint a new chief by Dec. 1.


Ms. Davis, who joined the department in 1988, is Mr. Clemons’s sister-in-law. She served as warden of three of the 10 jails at Rikers, including the women’s detention center, before moving to administrative positions. Reached by telephone, she declined to comment.


Mr. McLaughlin has been with the department for 27 years and has held several posts. He was warden of the Robert N. Davoren Center, an adolescent jail at Rikers, during a period of extreme violence, and was removed from that command in 2008 shortly after Christopher Robinson, an 18-year-old inmate, was beaten to death by fellow inmates. Mr. McLaughlin could not be reached for comment.


Ms. Davis, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Clemons were promoted to their positions shortly after Mr. Ponte’s arrival in April. Ms. Davis will leave her position on Nov. 1, while Mr. Clemons and Mr. McLaughlin are to step down on Dec. 1.


In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Ponte said that he was now reorganizing the department to improve oversight of the most violent jails at Rikers. This includes getting high-ranking officers out from behind their desks and onto the cellblocks for the majority of their workweek.


He has also designated a civilian, James E. Dzurenda, the former commissioner of Connecticut’s state prisons, to oversee the top ranking chiefs. The change represents a shifting of authority from the traditionally dominant uniformed staff.


The de Blasio administration has also been looking for ways to bring in new leaders, announcing in September that it was seeking to change civil service laws to allow the hiring of high-ranking correction officers from outside the department.


Under the reorganization, Mr. Ponte said he eliminated several top uniformed positions, including those of Ms. Davis and Mr. McLaughlin, prompting them to leave.


“We want to kind of take a look from the ground up with new eyes in these positions,” he said.


Asked whether Mr. Clemons was pressured to step down, Mr. Ponte said it was the chief’s “personal decision.”


Earlier this month, at a City Council hearing about violence at Rikers, Mr. Ponte praised Mr. Clemons for a “long history of doing good work in the agency.”


Lawmakers were not so kind.


Citing The Times’s investigation, the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, criticized Mr. Ponte for failing to fire Mr. Clemons, calling the department chief “clearly incompetent.”


In a joint statement released on Tuesday, Ms. Mark-Viverito and Elizabeth Crowley, a council member and the chairwoman of the committee overseeing Rikers, urged Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Ponte to seek out new leadership.


“For too long, the Department of Correction has been rife with the mismanagement and mistreatment of inmates, and the Council’s oversight has only served to further shed light on the deep-seated issues plaguing the D.O.C.,” the statement said.


In the face of the harsh criticism directed at Mr. Clemons, some of his strongest support came from the powerful correction officers’ union and its president, Norman Seabrook. After the Council hearing, Mr. Seabrook’s deputy, Elias Husamudeen, wrote on the union’s website: “I feel like this Council is calling for the head of Chief Clemons.” But on Tuesday, union officials declined to comment on Mr. Clemons’s departure.


Mr. Clemons has largely kept a low profile since the Times report. He did not attend the recent Council hearing, prompting Councilwoman Crowley to say that he “did not have the backbone to appear.”


On Monday, Mr. Clemons arrived at the commissioner’s office at 7 a.m., before the regular staff meeting, Mr. Ponte said.


Mr. Ponte recalled, “He came in and said: ‘I decided to put in my papers; I’m going to retire. I think it’s time.’ ”

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Norman Seabrook,President of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, is Arrested by the FBI For Pension Fund Fraud

What needs to be said: Seabrook's double dealing was well-known for many years. I guess it is better late than never.

Betsy Combier

Correction Officers' Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook was
arrested by the FBI on Wednesday morning.

The FBI has arrested the leader of a powerful city union on corruption charges in an ongoing investigation focusing on the NYPD and City Hall.
Norman Seabrook, longtime president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, was arrested at his Bronx home Wednesday morning without incident.


Investigators say Seabrook took kickbacks in connection with his union’s pension fund investments.
Seabrook allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs and in exchange steered business to the Platinum investment fund. The former head of the fund, Murray Huberfeld, was also arrested Wednesday morning.


The news comes as the federal authorities investigate allegations that NYPD officers engaged in a cash-for-favors scheme, and as Mayor de Blasio’s campaign fundraising is under scrutiny. The mayor insists his fundraising followed all laws.
Seabrook has ties to two Borough Park fundraisers for the mayor — Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg. The FBI investigating whether Rechnitz and Reichberg provided free vacations and other gifts to Seabrook and former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks.


All have denied any wrongdoing.



NORMAN SEABROOK, MURRAY HUBERFELD ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH FEDERAL PROBE

BRONX, New York (WABC) --Norman Seabrook and hedge fund financier Murray Huberfeld 
were arrested Wednesday morning in connection with a federal investigation.

The two are charged with one count of honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy 
to commit honest services wire fraud. They will appear Wednesday in federal court in Lower Manhattan.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to discuss the arrests at a news conference.

The investigation predates the ongoing corruption probes in the New York City Police Department and the city government.

However, one of the Brooklyn businessmen at the central of the investigation, Jona Rechnitz, is believed to have referred Seabrook to Huberfeld.

Seabrook's invested $10 million from the union pension fund through Huberfeld and his Platinum Investment Fund.

Huberfeld is then alleged to have kicked back some of the money to the union president.

Federal investigators have been looking into Seabrook's relationship with Huberfeld for at least 
two years.

Huberfeld has prior arrests, including a 1993 fraud conviction. He also had to settle a separate 
action with the SEC in 1998.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Two More Top NYPD Officials Retire Amid Cloud of Federal Probe: Sources

When public servants are corrupt, that is the worst corruption.

Betsy Combier
Bill Bratton and Preet Bharara

LINK
NEW YORK CITY — Two more high-ranking police officials under a federal NYPD corruption probe have filed for retirement, sources told DNAinfo New York.
Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez and Deputy Chief Andrew Capul handed in their papers, making them the latest high-ranking NYPD supervisors to retire since the scandal broke two months ago.
Last week, Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Chief David Colon and Deputy Inspector James Grant jumped from the NYPD ship after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton predicted that arrests were likely to stem from the sprawling federal investigation that includes pay-for-favors activities at the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s various fundraising practices.
Rodriguez was the executive officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South when he was reassigned to desk duty as part of the FBI investigation. He had recently been honored by the NYPD’s Desi Society for his community service work.
Capul was the executive officer of the NYPD's Patrol Borough Manhattan North before he was placed on administrative desk duty in April.
He was previously the commanding officer of the 34th Precinct until 2010 when he was reassigned because of rising crime rates. He was also punched in the face during an Eric Garner protest march back in 2014.
Rodriguez served on the NYPD for more than 25 years, while Capul is a veteran with 32 years on the job.
Their retirement will become official if no department charges are brought against them during the next 30 days, which will then protect their pensions even if they are later arrested and convicted of a felony.
"No one has filed for service retirement with administrative charges pending or has been identified by federal investigators as a target of their investigation," Roy Richter, the president of the Captain Endowment Association, pointed out.
Grant, the former commander of the 19th Precinct, has also filed for retirement amid allegations he accepted discounted earrings and a free trip to Las Vegas from two businessmen with close ties to de Blasio and former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks.
The two-year federal probe started with a corruption tip involving Banks and eventually snared numerous police officials taking free meals, gifts and even trips from businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who were members of de Blasio’s Inauguration Committee.
Two other officers from the NYPD License Division have also been stripped of their guns and badges during the probe for allegedly taking bribes from a Borough Park-based businessman, who was arrested for allegedly arranging gun permits for friends and clients for up to $18,000 each.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Another NYPD Official "Retires" From NYC Corruption

Bill De Blasio's legacy will be:  the Most Corrupt Mayor since William Magear (“Boss”) Tweed, the “Tiger of Tammany,” 

Boss Tweed




Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor De Blasio, Michael Harrington

Third High-Ranking NYPD Official Files for Retirement Amid Corruption Probe

NEW YORK CITY — A third high ranking NYPD official has filed for retirement amid the federal corruption investigation into a pay-for-favors scandal in the nation's largest police force, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, who was stripped of his badge and gun nearly two months ago, handed in his papers at Police Headquarters on Thursday, sources said.
The three-decade veteran, who was second in command in the NYPD’s citywide housing bureau, is the third top commander this week to leave the NYPD since Commissioner Bill Bratton said he expected arrests in the probe.
Harrington, who comes from a long line of respected officers, served previously as the right hand man for then-Chief of Department Philip Banks, who was the initial target of the now 2 1/2-year federal investigation.
Under city regulations, officers who retire are guaranteed their respective pensions even if they are arrested and convicted of a felony. Commissioner Bratton has 30 days to file charges against an officer, if warranted, that would halt their departure until the charges are resolved.
Banks, who has not been charged with any crime, took trips and junkets with two wealthy businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who served on Mayor de Blasio’s Inauguration Committee. 
The federal investigation of the NYPD centers on allegations that police officials took gifts in exchange for favors. The probe has also expanded to City Hall, where top mayoral advisers are being eyed over how they raised funds for various de Blasio political agendas.
Roy Richter, president of the Captain’s Endowment Association, declined to comment.
Deputy Chief David Colon, a 30-year veteran, filed for retirement on Wednesday, a day after Deputy Inspector James Grant pulled the plug on his career just shy of his 20th anniversary in the department.
Colon was known to hang out in the now-shuttered Harlem restaurant Hudson River Café, which was owned by Hamlet Peralta, a suspected con man recently arrested by the feds for operating a $12 million Ponzi scheme linked to the corruption scandal.
Deputy Inspector James Grant, who had served as the commander of the Upper East Side's 19th Precinct before his name surfaced in the scandal, is suspected of taking discounted jewelry and a trip to Las Vegas on a private jet from the two businessmen in exchange for police escorts.
Police officials said this week that they can't prevent individuals from retiring. However, they were able to reject a retirement application from Detective Michael Milici, who served as the Community Affairs officer at the 66th Precinct in Borough, because he took the Fifth when approached by the FBI — a violation of departmental policy.
Milci, who had more than 20 years on the force, was instead fired by Commissioner Bratton. But because of his tenure he is allowed to collect his full pension.
As many as another 10 officers — mostly high level officials — have been caught up in the federal probe, including two in the License Division who are suspected of taking money in exchange for gun permits without proper background checks.