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Punishment is relative matter

May 4, 1998

The Bible says the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons. In the New York City Police Department, the sins of retired deputy inspector Charles Luisi are being visited upon his daughter-in-law.

The NYPD is doing to Det. Laura Luisi what it cannot do to him.

When last heard from, the disgraced (some might say disgraceful) Charlie Luisi had escaped the department's clutches, retiring a step ahead of the department's crack Internal Affairs Bureau, which somehow couldn't locate him for 30 days to serve him with charges.

A few months before, when asked under oath in a civil suit whether he'd accepted thousands of dollars in freebies from the gun dealer and NYPD insider Michael Zerin, he'd taken the Fifth seven times.

The best the department could manage was to nix Luisi's tax-free disability pension, disregarding the recommendation of its own medical board. Then they came after his son, Sgt. Charles Luisi Jr.

Late last year, the IAB charged Junior with faking a burglary in his Westchester home to collect insurance money. The feds also are investigating Junior, who was demoted from lieutenant, for allegedly engineering a botched armored-car robbery while moonlighting as an armed guard. No charges have been filed there. Instead, the feds indicted him in the burglary-insurance case, and he is now on trial in White Plains.

The IAB also charged Junior's wife, Laura, in the insurance case. Specifically, they charge she filed a fraudulent insurance claim over a diamond ring she allegedly was later seen wearing and falsely reported the burglary took place. Both she and her husband are awaiting a ruling from a police trial judge on the departmental charges.

"They're trying to hammer her to get at her husband," says her attorney, Phil Karasyk. "They knew when they charged her that her name was not on the insurance claim. Neither was her signature. She did not endorse the insurance checks into their joint account. They compelled her to appear at a department hearing to testify against her husband. When he invoked his marital privilege preventing her from doing so, they suspended her for 30 days, then re-suspended her on similar charges previously drawn up so that she would lose another month's pay when no income was coming in."

Then, her former narcotics boss, Capt. Joseph March, approached her on behalf of the IAB, suggesting she testify against her husband to keep her job.

 

March had his own problems with internal affairs, related to allegations he'd deep-sixed the arrest of his daughter for allegedly selling marijuana. No charges were filed against him.

Printable version"I told Laura what her options were," March explained. "It was a tough decision for her to make. I pointed out that her husband was also indicted by the feds. And yet he's the father of her child."

Laura Luisi refused to testify against her husband and has moved into her parents' home with her infant son.

Meanwhile, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Louise Gruner-Gans ruled last month that the department must award Luisi Sr. his disability pension. It appears to be a Pyrrhic victory.

Say It Loud, Say It Proud. Worth, Longworth and Bamundo.

That's the name of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's new law firm.

Gone is any residue of former counsel Richie Hartman, convicted of defrauding the city's campaign finance board with former Transit PBA President Ron Reale, and of looting the Transit PBA of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hartman is to be sentenced next month amid assurances by his attorney Gerald Shargel that "contrary to rumor" (in Shargel's words) he is definitely, unequivocally not cooperating with the government.

Ditto Hartman's acolytes and PBA legal successors, Jim Lysaght and Peter Kramer, who were convicted with him.

To replace them, the union cobbled together something known as Worth, Longworth and Bamundo. Who are they? Well, Worth is a journeyman cop attorney, whose clients include Charles Schwarz, one of the 70th Precinct officers accused of brutalizing Abner Louima. Longworth served as ex-police Commissioner William Bratton's director of security while running a law practice on the side and now calls himself Bratton's former "special counsel."

God only knows who Bamundo is.

Saint Richard. Why did Howard Safir's St. Bernard, Richie, Sheirer attend the commissioner's weekly non-news conference for in-house reporters? The lowly fire dispatcher whom Safir elevated to deputy police commissioner had been quoted in this column last week telling an ex-municipal union chief that Safir wished to be mayor. Sheirer sat silently, neither expanding nor retreating from his remarks.

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Email Leonard Levitt at llevitt@nypdconfidential.com

© 1998 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.