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Charmed cop down the pipes

March 20, 2000

The St. Patrick's Day parade Friday may have been Officer Justin Meagher's last performance with the Emerald Society's pipe band.

A six-year veteran, Meagher's Police Department lineage is purest green. A relative, former inspector Pierce Meagher, was connected to the department's innermost sanctums. Similar connections landed Justin Meagher, 29, a two-bedroom apartment in the exclusive Manhattan apartment complex that First Deputy Commissioner Patrick Kelleher now calls home. Ditto his assignment to the Midtown North precinct, known as Fort Hook and home to the kids of the department's elite. So cozy was that assignment that Meagher was able to fit in three years of law school.

Then on Feb. 21, 1999, Meagher got himself in a jam. He had a prior jam, involving an assault on a hot dog vendor while on patrol and was penalized 15 days. Then, Returning home that day, he felt a yen for some female companionship and called an escort service, according to an accounty from police and other law enforcement sources

Enter a $400 call girl. She wanted her money up front. Meagher's story was that he had a sudden change of heart. Whatever, the two had a scrape and the woman flew out the door of his apartment, leaving her pocketbook.

She contacted Meagher and the apartment complex's security, saying she knew Brooklyn borough President Howard Golden (who through a spokesman said that neither he nor his staff ever heard of her). Meagher's Midtown North partner subsequently returned the call girl's pocketbook, obtaining a receipt returned purse, if you can believe it.

After cops were alerted to her allegations, Meagher was placed on modified assignment in the department's Office of Labor Policy, his case referred to the Manhattan district attorney, for possible prosecution for solicitation of a prostitite.

The DA offered not to prosecute if Meagher resigned by St. Patrick's Day so he couldn't play in the pipe band.

Meanwhile, Meagher and some fellow pipers played at the wedding of the daughter of Kelleher's deputy chief. Meagher's retired cop relatives began making phone calls. Meagher's attorney, David Greenfield, said that Meagher had filed for retirement rather than resigning. Because cops' pension rights and medical benefits are vested after five years, this would have allowed Meagher to them -and still play in the band.

However, Your Humble Servant tracked down Kelleher yesterday. His response: He'd better resign.

Charity at Home. As with its relationship with the Brooklyn district attorney's office, the ways of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community are sometimes unfathomable. Take the case of our old friend Simon Jacobson.

Your Humble Servant first reported in July, 1998, that Jacobson had passed $20,000 worth of bad checks, defrauded the city's welfare bureau of $56,000 and swindled an 80-year-old widow out of her $300,000 home but that DA Joe Hynes declined to indict. At the time, Hynes was running for governor and needed the support of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Indeed, Jacobson's attorney then was Asher White, whose wife, Henna, served as Hynes's $60,000-a-year liaison to the Orthodox community.

Now, due to renewed efforts of the Police Department's Special Frauds Squad-in particular Sgt. Sean McCafferty and Det. John Ryan-Jacobson has pleaded guilty to all of the above and is to be sentenced Friday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. In return for 6 months in jail, he has agreed to make full restitution.

Now here's where things become interesting. Jacobson's $25,000 bail and the bulk of his restitution are being paid by an Orthodox Jewish charity, Keren Aniyim, of 1314 Avenue J in Brooklyn,which according to its latest filing with the attorney general, raised $1,733,725 in contributions in 1998.

A person whose wife works as a volunteer for the charity in his Brooklyn advertising office at that address says that "special donors" were approached to help Jacobson. But why would a charity seek funds for an admitted swindler? Its directors-Abraham Diamond, Jack Weinman, Hirsch Wulliger and Saul Perlstein, all of Brooklyn-couldn't be reached for comment.

The latest shooting.
Another fatal police shooting of an unarmed person. Another black man dead. Another plea from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the public to withhold judgment.

The police department's $133,000-a-year deputy commissioner for public information, Marilyn Mode, is kept under wraps and says not a word about the shooting to the media. The more professional Deputy Chief Tom Fahey does the talking. The leading mayoral candidates, Mark Green and Alan Hevesi, remain silent, as does Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Virtually the first words out of Police Commissioner Howard Safir's mouth trash the victim, distorting his sealed juvenile record to make it appear he was a hothead-hence justifying the shooting.

In fact, the hothead may be the alleged shooter, police Officer Anthony Vasquez, who in his brief career has already drawn his weapon on two previous occasions, once to kill a dog, another time to stop a bar fight he reportedly started.

The Rev. Al Sharpton may have an agenda, as the mayor constantly reminds us. But who else is there to speak for the dead?

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