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A blood feud in tepid bureau

August 19, 1996

For the past couple of years, a red hot blood feud has roiled the normally tepid Criminal Justice Bureau.

The feud has led to a half-dozen sexual harassment or job site complaints, such as arbitary transfers. This has resulted in a federal law suit against the NYPD and allegations that CJB's top commanders lied and falsified records.

In a complaint filed with then police corruption monitor Nicholas Scoppetta, mid-level officers of the CJB charged that top CJB officials "deliberately falsified information concerning arrest overtime costs."

The authors of these charges are Capt. James McHale and Lt. John Danese. McHale retired after suffering a heart attack that his supporters attribute to the feud. Danese, also retired, was formerly the supervisor of the Brooklyn unit that implemented the video teleconferencing program to reduce police overtime from arrest to arraignment.

McHale and Danese also accuse Lt. Timothy Pearson of being the top brass' point man by retaliating against them for making their allegations. Pearson headed the CJB's Inspection's Unit before moving next door to become the right hand man to Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Janet Lennon.

Last year, Danese's brother Sal, a transit cop in his brother's unit, failed a drug test under questionable circumstances. John Danese says Pearson somehow contrived to rig the test, although he cites no evidence.

An Internal Affairs Bureau task force that the Daneses' attorney, Robert Simels, says is "theoretically" investigating the case attended Sal Danese's department trial, which ended last month when an administrative law judge for the Transit Authority, Ray Fleischhacker, threw out the results of Danese's drug test. Last week, the Transit Authority overruled him and fired Danese anyway.

Enter Carlos Munroe, then a CJB sergeant, assigned to the 81st Precinct as a night supervisor under John Danese.

On March 4, 1994, Pearson, supposedly acting on a tip from an informant, caught Munroe asleep in the sergeant's room at 4 a.m. on his meal break. Pearson charged him with "failing to stay alert" and reporting 15 minutes late back to work.

Ordinarily, such an infraction merits only a command discipline, says Munroe's attorney Rosemary Carroll, who served as NYPD counsel under Commissioner Robert McGuire a decade ago.

But Pearson wrote in his complaint that Munroe had been previously charged with the same offense and even cited a case number (#89/0870).

Printable versionBut there was no such prior case, although Assistant Chief Dennis Ryan, the then commanding officer of CJB, failed to check this out. Instead, he wrote to then First Deputy Commissioner David Scott on March 9, 1994: "Due to the serious nature of this misconduct and the fact that Sgt. Munroe has been previously found guilty of sleeping while on duty, charges and specifications are being preferred . . ."

In June, 1995, Munroe was found guilty in a departmental trial and given command discipline of three days. Because of the trial, he was passed over twice for lieutenant.

"They brought me to trial to hold back my promotion," he says. "He (Pearson) knew I was on the (lieutenant's) list. They never found anything."

Says Pearson: "He was caught red-handed. He did his penance. He shouldn't be punished for the rest of his life. He deserves to be a lieutenant."

Says Munroe: "They took three days from me. I didn't fight it. I feared it would affect my promotion. But they screwed me anyway. I was passed over twice. I should have been promoted 400 names ago."

Next week: The feud continued, or How Munroe became a lieutenant.

Miffed Maple. Jack Maple called to complain this column had sullied his reputation. He denied having worn a sweatshirt with the word "Hamptons" on it when he met with John Linder in the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel to finalize a deal making him a consultant to the New Orleans Police Department. He admitted he was wearing designer sunglasses, a shark fisherman's shirt and Gucci boat shoes. ---

The Charmer. Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Marilyn Mode brought her dog Lil to work the other day. The white pooch had been nipped by a mean old dog and rather than leave Lil home alone, Mode set her up on a comfy cushion in her newly redecorated office.

When a reporter entered, Lil wagged over to him. "She likes me," the reporter said, beginning to pet her. "No, she doesn't," barked the ever charming Mode. "She's friendly towards everybody."

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Email Leonard Levitt at llevitt@nypdconfidential.com

© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.