One Police Plaza

Safir and Kelleher may be on way out

July 10, 2000

The end appears nigh for First Deputy Police Commissioner Patrick Kelleher and Commissioner Howard Safir.

No date has been set for either's departure, but police officials report Kelleher will shortly announce he is leaving to become head of security at Merrill Lynch, the crown jewel of city security jobs.

Safir, who will soon begin treatment for his prostate cancer, is said to be not far behind him. But no one is saying what, if any job, is waiting for him. The plan, at least for now, is for him to fill Kelleher's job, then subsequently announce his retirement, those same officials say.

The spin on Safir's departure from his friends: "He has accomplished all he set out to." Translation: He's fed up getting the hell beat out of him every day for mismanagement of the department.

Last week, he had to respond to the post-National Puerto Rican Day parade wilding incident by publicly criticizing the department's parade-and-demonstrations expert Alan Hoehl, whom Safir had appointed a three-star chief. (Only the chief of department has a higher uniformed rank.) A day later, the mayor's normally flatulent Commission to Combat Police Corruption issued a critical report on police discipline, though it spared Safir from scrutiny, as it had promised, in the awarding of a $1-million pension to ex-cop Jay Creditor.

Then there's that nasty business from the feds in the Eastern District about a consent decree and special monitor in the wake of the Abner Louima incident.

Does Safir really want to stick around for September's West Indian Day parade? In light of the Patrick Dorismond incident (in which at the mayor's order, Safir released Dorismond's sealed juvenile record after police fatally shot him)-any type of police response to trouble there likely will be viewed as a no-win situation.

Unanswered questions: Was Kelleher promised Safir's job and refused to commit for the remaining 18 months of Giuliani's term because Merrill Lynch's six-figure salary proved irresistible? Or did Kelleher realize how specious Giuliani's promises can be?

Calling Dr. Brothers: The psychologist and syndicated newspaper columnist Joyce Brothers attributes Rudolph Giuliani's obsession with mafia-busting and catching crooks as a reaction to his father's criminal past.

"Sometimes, a child goes to the opposite extreme," says Brothers, an admirer of the mayor and his get-tough ways. "He Giuliani fights for the abolition of crime because he sees what crime can do to a family and to a life. Some of his sternness, some of his zeal as a prosecutor comes from a reaction to that."

The mayor refers with only warmth and admiration to his father, Harold, who, according to Wayne Barrett's new mayoral autobiography, spent 18 months in Sing Sing for an armed robbery a decade before the mayor was born and is portrayed in Barrett's book as a hothead and mob enforcer, known as "the savage."

"That still doesn't stop his love for his dad," says Brothers. "I am not saying he Rudy was abused, but kids who are abused by their parents will love them no matter what. They feel an obligation to love them and blame themselves for the abuse. They think, 'It is because I am not a good child, so I deserve it.'"

The Associated Press quoted Giuliani last week, saying of his father: "I would say my father was the finest man I ever knew. My father was the most generous and kindest and most charitable man I ever knew." Brothers adds: "At the same time we can react against something, we take a little piece of it with us. Women I know who vow 'I'd never be anything like my mother' hear their mother's words coming out of their mouths. Sometimes we carry a little bit of that person. We are all not mirror images or pale carbon copies. A lot of his Giuliani's ability comes from his own genetic endowments-and from the love his mother gave him."

Chuck Schwarz' secret weapon. While his attorney Ron Fischetti appeals Schwarz' convictions for participating in the sodomizing of Abner Louima in the 70th Precinct bathroom, keep your eye on Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari.

At Molinari's urging in January, 1993, Republican President George Bush commuted the sentence of Joseph Occhipinti, a federal immigration agent sentenced to 37 months for conducting illegal searches against Washington Heights store owners.

Molinari, who chaired Bush's 1988 New York State campaign, had angrily resigned as senior adviser to Bush's unsuccessful 1992 campaign while seeking to have the Justice Department reopen Occhipinti's case.

Earlier this year, Molinari became the short-lived state chairman of John McCain's presidential campaign against Bush's son, George W.

But last week, Molinari - who has backed Schwarz' claims that he was railroaded by federal prosecutors and a compliant judge - was said to have lunched with ex-president Bush. Is it coincidence that both prosecutor and judge are Democratic appointees?

©2000 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.