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What's the Deal with Rachel?

October 6, 2014

At least in theory, Mayor Bill de Blasio is correct: Rachel Noerdlinger should not be judged by the words or deeds of others, beginning with her live-in boyfriend.

But when that boyfriend is a convicted killer with a long criminal history including drug trafficking, who has posted rants calling the police "pigs"; when her 17-year-old son has posted that "all white people are the devil"; when Noerdlinger failed to disclose her live-in arrangement with the boyfriend to the city's Department of Investigation, as top city hall employees are required to do; and when she secured a waiver to live in New Jersey, claiming her son had health issues although he played on his high school football team -- well, you don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a police union leader to wonder: How can Noerdlinger remain as the $170,000 chief-of-staff to de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray?

What makes Noerdlinger -- who served for years as Al Sharpton's spokesperson -- so valuable that the mayor is willing to risk his integrity by maintaining that DOI "found no evidence of intent" to deceive the mayor or City Hall?

What makes Noerdlinger so valuable that the mayor is willing to risk the appearance of a double standard when after her son and boyfriend make vile and racist postings, she merely repudiates their words and de Blasio says all is well?

Well, in political circles, it is common knowledge that former fire commissioner Salvatore Cassano was never considered by de Blasio because of the racist and anti-Semitic postings by his emergency medical technician son.

Equally important, what is it that makes Noerdlinger so valuable that the mayor is willing to risk what little is left of his credibility with the police department?

"She will serve as long as Al Sharpton wants her to serve and she will leave when Al Sharpton decides she can leave," says a top law enforcement official of Noerdlinger.

That harsh, perhaps simplistic, assessment is reflective of the anger and bitterness of many city law enforcement officials at not only de Blasio but increasingly at Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

As retired sergeant Mike Bosak, the editor of an influential law enforcement newsletter, put it, Bratton has failed to "man up" to the mayor over Sharpton's influence.

"The mayor has placed Bratton in a terrible position," says a well-known civil right advocate. "You can't have someone on your central staff living with a cop-hater."

As for the NYPD and Sharpton, the mayor still doesn't get that it is a zero-sum game.

It's not enough for the mayor to attend a dedication ceremony for Bratton's late crony, Jack Maple, at Police Plaza. Or for his spokesman to say, "The mayor has nothing but the strongest support for the brave men and women of the NYPD" -- when he then, with a gaggle of other unctuous politicians, attends Sharpton's 60th birthday bash at the Four Seasons and says of Sharpton to reporters "The more people criticize him, the more I want to hang out with him."

A 42-year-old female executive of Al Sharpton's National Action League has charged Sharpton's longtime lawyer buddy, 70-year-old Sanford Rubenstein, with rape.

News accounts said the alleged rape occurred in Rubenstein's Manhattan apartment after Rubenstein and the woman attended Sharpton's birthday bash Thursday night.

According to the news accounts, the woman had been drinking, passed out and awoke during an encounter with Rubenstein, 70, who police suspect may have used an object to penetrate her.

The woman returned home, bleeding from the sexual contact and when the bleeding continued the next day she went to Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, where she lives. There, officials determined they were dealing with a sexual assault and notified authorities.

As of Sunday night, the police department had not put out an official incident report because, said a spokesman, there was "no named suspect" in the complaint, which was filed in Manhattan's 19th precinct.

Together with Sharpton, Rubenstein has won millions of dollars in city settlements in such high-profile police abuse cases as the 1997 sodomizing of Abner Louima and the 2006 wedding-eve, fatal police shooting of Sean Bell.

The pony-tailed Rubenstein was also on the podium of the Bethel Baptist church in Brooklyn with the family of police "choke-hold" victim Eric Garner when Sharpton eulogized him.

He maintains the encounter was consensual.

Seeming to distance himself, Sharpton's National Action Network released a statement saying, "The allegations as reported occurred at a private residence after a NAN event and had nothing to do with NAN nor Rev. Al Sharpton."

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