Investigation Uncovers Major NY State Police Scandal: Political Favors Done for Pataki, Spitzer


ny-state-policeIt’s a bombshell: State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found that New York state police executives played politics and improperly interfered in investigations to help former governors George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer. Gov. David Paterson ordered the investigation in the wake of the so-called “Troopergate” scandal that accused Spitzer of using state troopers to “get” then-top Senate Republican Joseph Bruno. While the report found that rank and file state cops maintained their integrity, their bosses were using the agency as a fiefdom for doing political favors.”Obviously clear lapses of judgment here,” Spitzer said two years ago in the heat of the scandal after the release of information about the use of state planes by Bruno.

What an understatement that turned out to be after a report on the state police released today by Cuomo made that look like small potatoes.

Cuomo found a litany of political favors done by top state cops including:

* A top Pataki donor and police buff, David Mack, was rewarded with the unsalaried, but prestigious position of Deputy Superintendent, the third highest in the state police that carried the title of “colonel.”

* An embarrassing domestic violence report involving an upstate Republican congressman was sanitized by state police brass.

* Then-New York Yankee Darryl Strawberry was improperly given state police protection when he was hospitalized in New York City.

* The head of Pataki’s security detail ordered state police to investigate a break-in at their gubernatorial campaign headquarters.

* In the Troopergate scandal, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Michael Balboni, a Republican who oversaw the state police, was asked to take the temperature of his former Republican colleagues to see how angry they were about the Bruno probe. He sent the following compromising e-mail to Spitzer’s top advisor: “It was suggested to me that I demonstrate my independence and call for an investigation of who ordered the superintendent to conduct the surveillance…. yeah right.”

There was apparently also a move to improperly give the secretary to the governor, Charles O’Byrne, state police protection, though no threat assessment was made.

{CBS Broadcasting/Noam Newscenter}