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Report reflects badly on brass

June 8, 1998

A top-level report on a sexual harassment complaint by a female cop comes down hard on one of the police department's most respected chiefs, Staten Island Borough Commander Gene Devlin.

The report, by the department's Equal Employment Opportunity office, questions Devlin's memory when he explained to the EEO office why he transferred the female cop's boss, Lt. Lloyd Thompson, supposedly for allowing too much overtime. Thompson was transferred after he warned Devlin he was violating federal and state law when he transferred Officer Stacey Maher after she complained to the EEO office about alleged sexual harassment by a former supervisor, according to the report. Under state and federal law, Thompson warned Devlin, Maher's transfer would be viewed as retaliatory.

The EEO report comes down even harder on Devlin's executive officer, Chief Phil Erickson, saying there is "sufficient cause" to believe he lied in his answers about Thompson's transfer.

Erickson said any suggestion he lied is "an absolute lie."

In addition, the report says both Devlin and Erickson suffered memory lapses regarding the pregnancy of Maher's squad commander, Sgt. Jacqueline Smarsch.

The report adds that Smarsch, with Devlin's and Erickson's apparent acquiescense, hid her pregnancy until 23 days before she was due to give birth so she could accumulate extra "chart days" - translation: more money. Department rules call for cops to notify the department when they learn they're pregnant.

Smarsch and Deputy EEO Commissioner Sandra Marsh didn't return calls. Devlin declined to comment.

The report recommends unspecified discipline for Devlin, Smarsch and Erickson. If the department follows through, this could prove a real problem for Erickson, as lying - or as the report euphemistically put it, "violating Commissioner Howard Safir's policy on making of false statements" - is a fireable offense these days for schlepper cops. Naturally, a different standard of lying applies to chiefs.

Dinner at 7. Fliers have appeared on the hallowed walls outside the generally non-functioning elevators of One Police Plaza, heralding retirement dinners for former Chief of Transportation Kenneth "The Duke" Donohue and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's former financial secretary, Len Weber.

The Duke - who says his nickname derives from that of John Wayne, while others say it derives from the fact that he can't pass a mirror without stopping to look at himself - was shown 1PP's revolving door earlier this year after Safir announced that Donohue had doctored subway crime statistics.

Printable versionWeber is one of "The PBA Six," former and current union trustees recently subpoenaed in an ongoing federal investigation that has already resulted in convictions of partners in the union's former law firm and the head of the former transit police union, Ron Reale, for defrauding the city's campaign finance board.

Conspicuously absent from The Duke's "Honorary Committee" are Safir and First Deputy Patrick Kelleher. Instead, heading the committee's list is Chief of Department Louis Anemone, Donohue's patron since he came over from Transit. Included is Charles Campisi, chief of internal affairs, who conducted The Duke's investigation. Omitted is Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman, who was superseded by The Duke as acting chief of department whenever Anemone took off.

Safir and Kelleher said last week they knew nothing of the dinner. (That's what comes of using the special executive elevator.) Having shown Donohue the door, Safir now says he might attend his dinner. Go figure.

Meanwhile, across Broadway, Weber is having his dinner next week. PBA spokesman Joe Mancini says his committee won't sell a ticket to One Police Plaza Confidential because Weber and his friends "would feel inhibited."

Weber and his five PBA cronies, including the party's organizer, Vice President Doc Savage, are suspected of conspiring to rip off the city's campaign finance board over Reale's 1993 campaign for Public Advocate. Here's how: The campaign-finance law states that candidates for public office can receive matching funds for each contribution up to $1,000 from city residents. Between June 12 and July 13, 1993, Weber, Savage and company and their wives, children, step-children, brothers, sisters, friends and friends of friends wrote 24 checks to Reale's campaign, according to law enforcement documents. Between June 1 and July 12, each contributor deposited $1,000 in hundred-dollar bills into his or her bank acount.

"The presence of a reporter who has written stories about parties like this in the past will inhibit their good time. They plan to say things that if taken seriously would not reflect well on him."

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Email Leonard Levitt at llevitt@nypdconfidential.com

© 1998 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.