Way to cop an attitude!
November 11, 1996
A week after the department's top uniformed officer dissed a major political fund-raiser and mayoral crony at a police funeral, its first deputy commissioner, Tosano Simonetti, cursed out a mid-level city official who coordinated the Yankees ticker-tape parade.
Simonetti's expletive-laced tirade was directed at Gregory Perrin, the Department of Transportation's special events coordinator, who works from City Hall. A sprinkling of police officers and mayoral officials witnessed it.
A ranking police officer there quoted Simonetti saying to Perrin: "You little creep. You fat - - - . You should die."
A city hall official said mayoral aides later discussed the incident and described it as "a brutal thing."
"I couldn't believe it," said the officer, who also witnessed Chief of Department Louis Anemone's dressing down of a Queens car dealer and friend of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Howard Koeppel, at the funeral of a police lieutenant on Oct. 23. The incident left Koeppel in tears. His apparent lapse: sitting in the church's first row, reserved for the mayor and top police officials.
Koeppel's friend, the mayor, termed that incident "much ado about nothing." Anemone, who hasn't discussed the incident publicly, sat next to Police Commissioner Howard Safir at a police ceremony Friday but disappeared before reporters could nab him.
Asked after the ceremony whether he had anything to say about the Anemone-Koeppel affair, Safir, also supposedly a friend of Koeppel, said "Nope," and loped off.
A ranking officer who witnessed Simonetti's tirade, which happened six days after Anemone's, termed it "worse than Anemone's because there was no justification for it."
"People in the street who heard it were stunned," he said. "He went on for about thirty seconds. Two police officers there apologized to Greg. He appeared stunned and offered no retort."
Ironically, many in the department have viewed the 63-year-old Simonetti as a mature ballast to the hotheaded Anemone, who happened to be at a police convention in Phoenix the day of the parade on Oct. 29.
In this instance, Simonetti appears to have out-anemoned Anemone.
The incident began, a police official said, when Simonetti appeared at the VIP tent on Broadway near the Battery "where the mayor and all your commissioners and the rich and famous people were attending a breakfast with the Yankee players, waiting to be called out on floats."
"The First Dep is a civilian post," the official continued, "but when Simonetti pulled up he went into an Anemone mode. He went into the middle of the street and started directing traffic. Perrin was trying to have a DOT truck moved. All the DOT trucks were being used for the press. You had to intersperse them with the players' floats. He Perrin was just moving the truck from a wrong spot from one side of the street to the other. He was telling the driver, Move the truck down.'
"Suddenly, Simonetti begins shouting at him. Greg says, I am just trying to move the truck.' Simonetti didn't want to hear anything. He begins shouting, We're running the show here, you fat - - - . He cursed him for half a minute."
A top-ranking officer who also witnessed the incident attributed it to tensions between department officials and City Hall staffers.
"There was an exchange," the officer said. "There was tension between ranking officers and City Hall. Clearly, a number of high-level city officials were inappropriately trying to order the police around. They were novices, sticking their noses where they shouldn't be. What you might have seen was Simonetti pushing back."
Police officials identified two witnesses to the exchange as mayoral aide Bruce Teitelbaum and Jerome Hauer, the director of emergency mangagement. Teitelbaum denied seeing anything, and Hauer declined to comment, saying: "Before any parade like this, there is a lot of activity and excitement. There's always tension getting it off the ground on time. If you look at the outcome, things went smoothly. The police department was terrific. They worked well with other agencies. That's what we really ought to focus on."
In a telephone interview Friday, Perrin said: "The only thing I will say is that I have known Tony Simonetti for 12 years. I consider him a friend and a top law-enforcement official. I always enjoy working with Tony. That's all I am going to say to you."
Simonetti did not return calls to his office seeking comment. Neither did mayoral spokeswoman Colleen Roche.
Marilyn Mode, the police department's deputy commissioner for public information, said: "I have nothing for you. Were you there, or is this remote reporting again?"
Email Leonard Levitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.