NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard Levitt

Two Moves at Police Plaza: Colgan and Kammerdener?

November 3, 2008

Word around Police Plaza is that Assistant Chief John Colgan is retiring as commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

The hard-charging Colgan served as the enabler for his boss, Deputy Commissioner Richard Falkenrath, who, until this column caught on, was permitted to cavort about town in two department-leased luxury cars — annual cost to the taxpayer: $20,000.

Earlier this year, the News embarrassed Colgan by revealing that he slept weeknights on a cot in his Brooklyn office while supposedly living nearby at his parents’ place.

Truth be told, he lived way upstate, in violation of the department’s residency requirements which mandate that officers live either in the city or the surrounding counties.

Over the years, Colgan’s rabbi has been Joe Wuensch, his former supervisor in Management and Budget. When former police commissioner Bernie Kerik bounced Wuensch in 2000, Colgan filed for retirement.

But when Ray Kelly succeeded Kerik in 2002 and made Wuensch his chief of staff, Colgan also returned.

His departure now from Counter-Terrorism comes at an opportune moment for Kelly. Word around Police Plaza is that Colgan’s replacement will be Assistant Chief Charles Kammerdener, commanding officer of the Special Operations Division.

If that’s true, moving Kammerdener out of SOD would ease pressure on Kelly, following a recent police tragedy — the suicide of Lt. Michael Pigott of the Emergency Service Division, which is under Kammerdener’s command.

Pigott gave the order to Taser an emotionally disturbed man standing on a ledge, who then fell to his death.

The department blamed Pigott for violating department guidelines, and Kammerdener stripped him of his gun and badge, transferring him to desk duty in another unit, thus removing him from his colleagues and support system.

Days after he publicly apologized to the victim’s family and sought department counseling over his own distress, he shot himself to death at his old unit’s headquarters. His family asked that Kammerdener and Kelly not attend his funeral.

Kelly and his wife did attend Pigott’s wake.

Colgan did not a return a call to his office. Kammerdener could not be reached yesterday. His office said he was running in the marathon.

Still A Hero.
Some Jersey friends of Bernie Kerik — [Yes, he still has them.] —are holding a dinner for him next month under the auspices of the Bernard Kerik Legal Defense Trust.

The dinner invitation reads: “SUPPORT AN AMERICAN HERO.”

Atop the invitation are three photos of New York’s 40th police commissioner. In the first, the young Kerik stands with his German Shepherd while on army patrol.

The second shows him as a young cop at One Police Plaza on Medal Day.

In the third, he stands at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11 alongside Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President George Bush.

The invitation says that “contributions to the trust will be used to defray Mr. Kerik’s legal expenses to assist him in defending himself against charges that have been brought against him by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.”

We all know that story: how, in 2004, Kerik flamed out as Bush’s nominee to head Homeland Security; how, in 2006, he pleaded guilty to two ethics violations after an investigation by the Bronx District Attorney's Office and was ordered to pay $221,000; and how, in 2007, a federal grand jury indicted him for conspiracy, mail fraud and lying to the Internal Revenue Service.

Since then, Kerik’s two attorneys, Joe Tacopina and Kenneth Breen, have been forced off the case because Kerik allegedly lied to them and they passed along his alleged lies to Bronx prosecutors in obtaining his plea deal.

The case’s chief prosecutor, Perry Carbone, has resigned.

One by one, past friends like Giuliani have left him or, like his former spokesman Tom Antenen, run into trouble because of their relationship with him.

Unbowed, Kerik has pleaded not guilty and refused a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for six months.

Trial is set for early next year, with his newest attorney.

The dinner, on December 1, is in Paterson, N.J.

Minimum Donation: $75 per ticket.

It will be interesting to see which law enforcement officials attend, other than detectives from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and undercover agents from the FBI.

Clothes-Horse Kelly.
No matter how fast Ray Kelly runs, he cannot catch up with his 1994 successor Bill Bratton, the city’s first celebrity police commissioner.

Take the recent issue of Men’s Vogue, which describes Kelly as “wearing a bespoke Martin Greenfield suit, French cuffs fastened with weighty gold links and a gold-colored Charvet tie. [’My big weakness,’ he confides, straightening the silk knot.]”

While we don’t know what “bespoke” means, we do know that, when Bratton was commissioner, Martin Greenfield was his tailor, first.

The magazine gushes that “Kelly is a fixture on the city’s social circuit. He appears in society photographs with actresses like Ellen Barkin, designers like Ralph Lauren, media bigwigs like Tina Brown, and pop stars like Mark Anthony [for whom he played the bongos during an NYPD benefit at the Waldorf this year.] And he is probably the only cop in the city to have succeeded in getting a table at the ultra-exclusive restaurant, the Waverly Inn.”

No doubt Bratton is green with envy. Especially now that Mayor Mike’s three-term power grab appears to have ended his dream of repeating as commissioner — and meeting Kelly’s new friends.

« Back to top

Copyright © 2008 Leonard Levitt