Five scandal-scarred cops forced out of the NYPD during a federal bribery investigation have received a settlement of over $1 million from the city, a source tells the Daily News.
Former Inspector Peter DeBlasio and ex-Deputy Chiefs Andrew Capul, David Colon, Eric Rodriguez and John Sprague had claimed they lost out on accrued compensation, including vacation and comp time, when former Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Lawrence Byrne demanded they retire in July 2016.
The men were linked to the bribes-for-favors scandal revolving around Mayor de Blasio donors Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg — but never faced any charges.
The forced-out officers filed a grievance with the city Office of Labor Relations over losing their positions in the department. Last year, arbitrator David Stein wrote that they’d been “blackmailed” out of their jobs.
“They were never informed of the basis for any suspicions the department may have about them, nor were they able to assuage the department of any concerns it may have had with respect to any of them,” Stein wrote. “The department’s motive was depicted as a concern about negative publicity, although neither man was ever charged with misconduct.”
Except that the settlement topped $1 million, The News could not determine its exact amount. The Captains Endowment Association, which filed the grievance on behalf of the five cops, declined comment. The officers’ lawyer Harry Greenberg did not respond to a request for comment. Two sources said the officers may file a lawsuit over their ouster.
“The NYPD believes these retirements were handled properly; an arbiter rendered a decision binding on all parties,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The federal investigation resulted in a sentence of two years’ probation for former Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, who copped to misusing police resources as favors for Reichberg and Rechnitz. Ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant was acquitted at trial of taking bribes. Reichberg is awaiting sentencing for bribery and other offenses. Rechnitz testified for the government and is also awaiting sentencing.
The nearly two-month long trial tarnished the badges of at least a half-dozen high-ranking cops and pulled back the curtain on their unusually cozy relationship with Reichberg and Rechnitz. Evidence showed that the businessmen sought to monetize their access to 1 Police Plaza by making themselves look like bigshots.