One Police Plaza

Hynes takes hint, backs off on cop

September 25, 2000

Here's yet another example of why Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes should consider another line of work.

On June 24, 1998, Det. John Danna of the 75th Precinct detective squad in East New York questioned Kalimah Wilson, 19, a suspect in a chain snatching. The door to the interrogation room was ajar. A one-way glass window enabled people to see inside. Despite this, Wilson asserts, Danna unzipped his pants, exposed himself, demanded oral sex, kissed her on the mouth and fondled her.

Hynes' office deemed it irrelevant that Danna passed a polygraph test and that Wilson made similar unsubstantiated accusations against a former employer and other officers in the 75th Precinct. Nor did his office deem it relevant that she filed a $5-million suit against Danna and the city.

Instead, Hynes' office indicted Danna.

On Oct. 22, 1999, on the eve of trial, Hynes dropped the charges. His action, as read into the court record, followed the "suggestion" by the trial judge, State Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges, that prosecutors "evaluate" their evidence. In short, Gerges said they had no case.

Of course, Hynes never admitted this.

Instead, Assistant District Attorney Peter Calandrella said the charges were dropped because Wilson was six months pregnant and could not "undergo the rigors of a criminal trial."

Now, Deputy Police Trial Commissioner Rae Koshetz, who recently presided over Danna's departmental trial based on the same allegations, has weighed in with her assessment.

After Wilson was cross-examined by Danna's attorney Joe Tacopina, Koshetz concluded: "Resolution of the charges turns on the credibility of Ms. Wilson, whose account did not, in my opinion, satisfy the department's burden of proof for these reasons: Her account was implausible...She has a clear motive to lie in the form of a $5-million lawsuit against the city...Her unsubstantiated allegations against her former boss and other police officers did not contribute to her credibility."

Cronyism Corner. Next time Mayor Rudolph Giuliani tells us about all the people he took off welfare and put back to work, ask him about former Deputy Police Commissioner Marilyn Mode.

Mode took off work and was granted a form of welfare-a no-show city job with a car and six-figure Police Department salary.

Mode, who high-tailed it out of One Police Plaza with outgoing commissioner Howard Safir, has turned up at the city's Office of Emergency Management, a cronyism cell headed by Richie Sheirer.

Sheirer is the former fire dispatcher Safir brought to the Police Department as Deputy Commissioner for Operations. Assistant Personnel Commissioner Denise Collins says Mode remains on the police payroll. Mode declined to describe her work at OEM.

Spokesman Frank McCarton, another former fire official, was said by another city official to be too frightened to return Newsday's call. Mayoral press secretary Sunny The Silent Mindel was as good as her moniker.

Nor is Mode alone in the police welfare department. Todd Ciaravino, Safir's $78,588 coat-holder who was a former driver for Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, is now at the department's Traffic Control Division, where he immediately went sick without ever reporting there.

Sources say Todd was transferred from headquarters because of suspicions he provided details of the mayor's relationship with former press secretary Cristyne Lategano to at least one Giuliani biographer. Lategano had banished Todd from City Hall in 1996.

Then there's new Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who is supposedly making his rep by reducing skyrocketing department costs, including last year's $237.3-million overtime budget.

Kerik has appointed his crony Tibor Kerekes to the Safir-created, no-show position of deputy commissioner of administration-salary: $122,000. Safir had given that job to his crony from the Marshal Service, Al McNeil. Kerik is so generous he's allowing McNeil to remain in the same capacity.

"I'm No Markman." Former chief of patrol Wilbur Chapman says he's reconsidered his threat to visit Daily News reporter John Marzulli after Marzulli questioned Chapman about his line-of-duty tax-free disability pension application, courtesy of the so-called Heart Bill.

Chapman, now police chief in Bridgeport, Conn., says Marzulli infuriated him by comparing him to outgoing Chief of Personnel Mike Markman, who's seeking the same tax-free disability penalty for a seven-year-old back injury.

"I really resent being thrown in with Markman," Chapman explained. "I didn't fall down in the squad room seven years ago."

Chapman says his family has a history of heart problems.

"In 1995 while chasing some kids in Crown Heights, I became light-headed and almost passed out. The only reason I didn't file for retirement then is that I refused to retire before Louie," Chapman said.

He was referring to former chief of department Louis Anemone, with whom Chapman fought for the next four years.

©2000 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.