One Police Plaza

Safir can claim no money woes

October 27, 1997

Do not cry, New Yorkers, for Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

Better to cry, "Show me the money!"

If, as it appears to be, Safir and his wife, Carol, were shamed into paying the celebrity divorce attorney Raoul Felder for settling a lawsuit against them alleging they bilked a relative out of her Long Island home - well, the Safirs can afford it.

A perusal of Safir's financial disclosure form filed with the city indicates his net worth approaches a million dollars.

Besides his $133,000 commissioner's salary, Safir lists an annual federal pension of between $60,000 and $100,000; annual bank interest of between $5,000 and $20,000; 19 stocks, bonds and mutual funds totaling a couple of hundred thousand dollars; and half-interest in nine parcels of real estate, including condos and town houses from Maryland to Indiana, totaling an estimated $575,000. One of these is the Mattituck house - estimated value between $100,000 and $250,000 - that Carol Safir's sister-in-law accused her and her husband of taking from her.

And that's not all. One thing you won't find listed in Safir's name is his security business - estimated to be worth between $60,000 and $100,000. Safir sold his half-share to his son, Adam. Carol Safir owns the other half.

Then there's Carol herself, a real estate broker, business dynamo and a founder of The Money Club, an investment group that encourages women to "take control of their finances in all realms of their lives," as a spokeswoman for Simon and Schuster puts it. Simon and Schuster is publishing a book about The Money Club featuring Carol Safir on the cover.

It was the same Carol Safir who Felder says approached him about her sister-in-law's lawsuit, telling him she hoped his customary $450-an-hour fee "will not break my back."

So Felder, who says he became a lawyer "to help people" and offers members of the Detective Endowment Association cut-rate fees on their divorces, decided to waive the fee for his two weeks of work for the Safirs. Alas for them, this column noted the irony of the commissioner's accepting a legal freebie of a few thousand dollars when the department's Patrol Guide forbids cops from accepting even a wristwatch.

Last week, Felder informed Daily News columnist Mark Kriegel that Carol Safir had paid him, though neither Felder nor Safir's spokeswoman Marilyn Mode would confirm that to this reporter. Generous man that he is, Felder now maintains he worked on the Safirs' suit not for two weeks, but for only two hours.

Mo' money. Meanwhile, the poor man's police commissioner, Bill Bratton, slipped back into Boston unannounced to pick up his police pension.

The Greatest Law Enforcement Official of the Western World, as his agent would like you to believe, had bailed out of Beantown for the Big Apple a year shy of pension eligibility. After a private pension bill concocted by his friends in the Massachusetts Legislature failed, Bratton glommed onto another bill for veterans that credits military service. To become eligible, one must be an active Boston Police Department member. So Bratton returned to the BPD for a day, spending it as a lieutenant, his last civil service rank.

Mo' Marilyn. Det. Dolores McGinnity, president of the Policewomen's Endowment Association, was apparently so at a loss to explain on what basis her organization selected Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Marilyn Mode as its Woman of the Year that she refused to answer the phone Friday at the chief of patrol's office and hasn't been heard from since.

There are about 5,000 city policewomen, about 15 percent of the force. The selection of Mode - known for her refusal to provide information to the public - as the best the PEA can offer reinforces the notion that policewomen are not regarded seriously in the department.

Its sole female chief, Queens Borough North commander Gertrude LaForgia, was honored as the PEA Woman of the Year a few years back. Its half-dozen female inspectors, all of whom were promoted under Bratton, either declined this year's award or weren't considered.

Air Lysaght. The attorney for former Patrolmen's Benevolent Association attorney Jim Lysaght, on trial for allegedly bribing Transit PBA officials, compared his client in opening arguments to Michael Jordan. "Jim Lysaght did not have to bribe to get hired or to get business any more than Michael Jordan has to pay the Chicago Bulls to hire him," the attorney, Michael Rosen, said last week.

Prosecutors hope that Rosen's statement will allow them to introduce former PBA president Phil Caruso's supposed time slips and work sheets as a PBA "consultant." After his retirement in 1995, Lysaght's firm hired him at $200,000 a year.

©1997 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.