Intel’s Ghost of Christmas Past Party
January 7, 2008
First we had Intelligence Division Deputy Inspector Vincent Marra putting the arm on subordinates to pay for cosmetic surgery after his detective girlfriend helped wheedle $1,000 for his operation from a fireman’s fund for 9/11 victims. Marra was forced to retire.
Now Intelligence Deputy Commissioner David Cohen and his chiefs have pressuried staffers to pony up $75-a-head to attend Intel’s Christmas party this Thursday, the second attempt at throwing such an event.
Intel had planned the party in December, the usual time for Christmas events, but had to cancel when only 14 people signed up.
Morale under Cohen has sunk so low it killed the holiday spirit. As one Intel official put it, “There were always over 150 people at these things, but this year has just been such a downer for so many that they just don't want to go. You can't ask people to disregard the treatment they receive the other 364 days of the year and go knock glasses with the brass like things are OK.”
Some people think Cohen is great at fighting terrorism. That may or may not be true. Maybe one day he might even tell Commissioner Kelly why an airline pulled a detective off an overseas flight from Newark or why another Intel official was quietly returned from the Middle East back to Police Plaza.
Perhaps Cohen’s preoccupation with fighting terrorism is the reason he reputedly attended only one Intel Christmas party in his six years as commissioner. “Apparently,” says an Intel source, “he’s too busy to go and say thanks to the men and women that work all year for him.”
Intel’s Christmas Party Number One — to have been held at the Chelsea Brewery last Dec. 6 — was organized by Deputy Chief Thomas Galati. That’s the same Galati who played point man at Kennedy airport when Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived with his diplomatic delegation for the United Nations last September. When the plane landed, Galati — apparently on Cohen’s orders — insisted on a weapons check of the Iranians and blocked the delegation from leaving the airport for 40 minutes.
This pointless maneuver upset the Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service and the Port Authority, and ended only after the Port Authority contacted NYPD Chief of Department Joe Esposito.
According to an Intel source, Galati actually ordered an investigation into why people boycotted the first party.
“Apparently Chief Galati was so embarrassed by this,” said an Intel source, “that he summoned the newly promoted Chief Pontillo to his office and directed him to hold a meeting first with lieutenants and above and then with union delegates in an effort to find out what happened.”
Galati did not return a call seeking comment.
Another Intel official says he was instructed “to poll my subordinates and provide a list of who is attending and who is not attending the January party.They let it be known that ‘it would be in everyone's best interest to attend.’”
Supposedly the new party is sold out. Little wonder, given the pressure the staffers had to endure. “He [Galati] immediately called his squad lieutenants and demanded to know why no one wanted to attend the party,” said a source.“He then had his office call and ask for a list of those who paid and those who intended on going. … The list was double checked by a captain who called all to confirm the names.”
We won’t give the address for fear of being accused of helping the terrorists, other than to say it is in midtown.
Here are excerpts from an e-mail he sent on Dec.30 to his 1,000 closest friends
…. “I think it is important for us to remember that we are still a country at war and we still face serious threats against our national security.
… ”The successes by General David Patraeus and his troops in Iraq are continuing … Unfortunately, his achievements have gone almost unnoticed by the general public here in the United States …He was definitely the right man for the job.
… “With Al Qaeda claiming responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden’s renewed threats against Israel and Iran’s announcement that their first atomic power plant will start operating in mid-2008, we can’t put our guard down for even a second.
… “The enemies in this war against the United States and those countries that live in freedom around the world are still out there. … the thought of Pakistan’s nuclear capability falling into the hands of Al-Quaeda is chilling and the thought of Iran having nuclear capability is even worse.
…”This is definitely not the time to lose sight of what happened on Sept 11, 2001; who was responsible then and who our enemies are today.”
So who’s interested in what Benie has to say? Rudy Giuliani? Fox News?
Apparently, the police department is allowing Colgan to break these rules by providing these accommodations, as pathetic as they are. Department spokesman Paul Browne — Mr Truth — says Colgan is so hard-working he sometimes sleeps in his office, even though he has a residence in Brooklyn. According to the News, it’s his parents, not Colgan, who live in that apartment.
Perhaps the News and Internal Affairs should also look into whether Colgan flouted city laws when he returned to the NYPD in 2002.
Colgan filed for retirement when Kerik became commissioner in 2000 and fired Colgan’s boss, then Deputy Commissioner of Management and Budget Joe Wuensch. In his autobiography, Kerik said he was upset that police precincts were filthy and complained Wuensch couldn’t get anything done. Colgan then an inspector, was Wuensch’s commanding officer.
When Kelly returned as commissioner in 2002, Wuensch returned as his chief of staff. Colgan followed. Now here is where it gets interesting. When an officer retires, he has a year to change his mind but must pass a physical to return. But sources say Colgan never took the physical.
Colgan did not return a call. [To be continued.]
Copyright © 2008 Leonard Levitt