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Security costs closely guarded

May 8, 2000

The Police Department does not want the public to know about the taxpayer-funded overtime costs of Rudolph Giuliani's "security" when the mayor goes a-courtin' to the Southampton home of his inamorata, Judith Nathan.

The department's Office of Management and Budget releases a quarterly list of the department's top 100 overtime earners. And until Giuliani, that list included cops assigned to the mayor's and the police commissioner's security details. Being found on that list was regarded as a badge of shame and embarrassment.

Giuliani ordered the removal of his security detail from that list. When Howard Safir succeeded Bill Bratton as police commissioner, he ordered the removal of his security detail from the list as well.

Deputy Chief Tom Fahey, a department spokesman, tried telling Your Humble Servant that listing the mayor's top security overtime earners could conceivably compromise the mayor's security. Then he stopped and said, "We don't discuss security issues."

Who He?
Who is Spencer Evelyn, and what powers of persuasion does he possess? After his city car knocked a police officer off his motorcycle and into a guard rail on the FDR Drive, Evelyn fled the scene. When apprehended at the 34th Street exit a few minutes later after a full-scale alert had been broadcast, he convinced Insp. Vincent Kennedy, the commanding officer of the Highway Division, that he had done nothing improper, so that Kennedy released him.

According to police sources and a police accident report obtained by Newsday, Evelyn, a $36,471-a-year fraud investigator for the Human Resources Administration, was driving fellow HRA employee Louise Goodwin in an official HRA 1999 Ford when he struck Officer William O'Grady of the Highway Unit around 9:30 P.M. on April 27.

O'Grady was riding north in the left lane of the Drive as part of a 10-vehicle detail, escorting an 11-month-old scalded baby from Brooklyn to the Cornell University burn unit. (Mercifully and miraculously, O'Grady, who was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center by an ambulance from the detail, suffered only minor injuries.)

According to the department's report, the accident was "due to the unexpected lane change by the civilian operator." The report was signed by Sgt. Paul Gallo and approved by Lt. Carl Gandolfo of the highway unit, who wrote: "Upon investigation, I concur with Patrol Supervisor's findings."

Fahey, however, said Kennedy concluded Evelyn had not been drinking and was unaware he had struck O'Grady or that he was being pursued.

One question. Why was Evelyn driving an official city vehicle at 9:30 at night? He could not be reached over the weekend.

Stepping Up.
With the two top officials in the state court system unwilling to take any public action against State Supreme Court Justice Joseph (I Am The Law) Teresi in Albany for allegedly holding a court employee hostage in his office for 30 minutes, it may be time for the Court of Last Resort, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, to step up to the plate.

Here is what the employee, David Bookstaver, the court's official spokesman, said Teresi did to him after the jury verdict had been reached in the Amadou Diallo trial, over which Teresi presided.

Bookstaver said he was summoned by Teresi into his chambers without explanation. There were two sheriff's deputies waiting. The deputies forcibly detained Bookstaver when he tried to walk out the door and one of them took his cell phone when he tried to call for help. The speculation was that Teresi didn't want a premature release of the verdict.

Bookstaver has refused to say whom he was calling. Best bet: his boss, the court's chief administrator, Jonathan Lippman, who had selected Teresi to preside at the trial after it was moved to Albany from the Bronx.

Ordinarily, the Commission on Judicial Conduct allows judges more leeway in their treatment of court employees than in their treatment of ordinary citizens. Still, the last time we looked, holding a person against his will and taking his personal property was against the law.

That Dog (Cont.).
Marilyn Mode's wee dog Lil took it literally on the chin last week when an officer in the Office of Public Information, which Mode nominally heads, opened the swinging office gate and inadvertently clocked the beast. The good news is that Lil has recovered. Not so the cops who witnessed the incident, who were afraid to tell Mode, fearing the offending officer might be demoted.

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© 2000 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.