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by Peter Moskos

October 26, 2010

Oh, please!

Here's a non-story: NYPD Commissioner Kelly didn't disclose that the Police Foundation paid his dues at the Harvard Club. My God, who cares? Good God, Lenny, I know you hate Kelly with a passion bordering on obsessive (and that's putting it mildly), but is this the best you got on the guy? If so, you should have skipped it and talked more about Jennifer Hunt's great book.

I wish the Police Foundation would pay my dues at the Harvard Club. I wouldn't mind being a member. And I did go to Harvard. I'm just too cheap to join.

Well, should Kelly have disclosed it? I guess if them's the rules, he should have. But they shouldn't be the rules. The rules are too strict. Nothing wrong with a free cup of coffee. And nothing wrong with the commissioner taking people out on the Police Foundation's dime. Assuming the police commission isn't a crook (what do Bernard Kerik and Ed Norris have in common?) can't we let him do his job? And no, I don't want to know who he was with.


Gotti Rules said...

How much money are we talking about here?? What are the yearly dues for this club??

PCM said...

Hey Gotti Rules, you know when the words in the post are blue instead of black? Those are called "links." And when you "click" on them with the "mouse," it takes to a "newspaper article" that you then have to "read." I just knew that was asking too much from you!

But to answer your question, $1,500.

Gotti Rules said...

I always wonder why some of the words were a different color. Mrs. Gotti was not here to help me.

PCM said...

That's why I'm here for you, baby. I still got your back.

Without the missus, you must be hungry, too. Does she put little meals for you in little containers with careful picto-gram instruction on how to use the microwave? I hope so!

Mrs Gotti Rules said...

As a matter of fact Pete,
I do have to pack him a lunch everyday. However, I make sure to pack items that can be eaten cold. That way, I don't have to worry about the microwave instructions.
I think he might be lost without me. I am proud of him though, for reading all of your blog without my help!

IrishPirate said...

The problem is not so much that Kelly is accepting/taking the membership as much as it is the double standard. One rule for Kelly and other high ranking officers and another for every other officer.

To quote the "Untouchables" so endeth the lesson.

So either Kelly adhere to the same rules as his officers or he should change the rules.

Considering that I consider Ray Kelly to be the most overrated big city police chief in the country I won't be holding my breath.

Now Bratton......that guy is a police chief. Although, he does like the camera a bit much for my taste. I guess egos come with the job

Anonymous said...

In LA, Bratton got paid $400,000 a year for leading half as many cops as Kelly leads; Kelly makes $200,000. When the NYPD PC gets paid what a person deserves to lead the largest municipal police force in the world--about $500k a year--then we can expect him to pay for business lunches out of his own pocket. This is a non-issue.

PCM said...

I couldn't agree more. Do we really have to remind people that this, uh, is an important job?

IrishPirate said...

Well 2:32 and 2:33 perhaps you should join the Heather MacDonald NYPD fan club. I think she gives out NYPD Mouseketeer ears to all members. The ears resemble Ray Kelly's ears and you pledge allegiance to Ray.

Seriously, I don't have a problem with him taking the membership. I do have a problem with the double standard. It's corrosive to morale.

PCM said...

I don't actually see this as an issue specific to Ray Kelly. I see it as another example of overly strict anti-corruption regulations being counterproductive.

I think there should be consistence. I don't think it should be wrong for the Police Foundation to pay the dues of any police officer.

Anonymous said...

Wait... you went to Harvard? You only mention it with every labored breath. Judging from the photos in your book it's more apparent that you went to IHOP.

PCM said...

Actually I rarely mention it. Plus there are no photos in my book. And what's wrong with IHOP?

jch said...

Why are you so big on defending
Ray Kelly and his sense of entitlement (and that of other Police Commissioners who think they can get away with doing things they'd have their cops crucified for?

PCM said...

I want to defend all police officers who are held to unfairly high and unreasonable standards.

My consistency is that I don't think any police officer should get in trouble for accepting a little something for nothing in return. In this case it happens to be the man at the top.

I accepted free food as a police officer and I don't think there was anything wrong with that (other than violating departmental regulations).

1) I always offered to pay,
and 2) I was open about it. Follow those rules and you'll be fine.

It is not possible to follow all departmental regulations, so the officer is left having to rationalize which regulations don't have to be followed to the letter (I also got paid once to be a non-uniformed bouncer at a party I wanted to attend).

All cops live in glass houses, so I hate to see stones being thrown.

And last time I checked, Kelly wasn't exactly cracking down on officers accepting discount sandwiches at bodegas. Nor should he.

Anonymous said...


Well, given that I took free food when I was doing fieldwork as police, my house is also glass and I generally agree free food and and similar gratuities are no big thing. On the other hand, if a fight breaks out between restaurant owner and customer in a restaurant that gives cops free food, guess who's out in cuffs.... cops also tend to congregate around locations that provide free food and thus serve some members of the public more than others. Sometimes restaurant owners secretly resent the cops to whom they give food for free, despite the extra service.

But that's not the point. The point is that Ray Kelly is not a cop taking a free cup of coffee. He's the Police Commissioner of the NYPD who feels entitled to have someone else pay his bills at the Harvard club and doesn't feel that he has to account to any one. When we take money from the university for travel to conferences, we turn in receipts that account for our expenses and verify where we've been. That Kelly should take a large amount of money(this is not a small amount of money) to entertain people at the Harvard club and not have to justify how the relevant entertainment serves the people of New York City, would appear to be a potential conflict of interest,a possible mixing of private and public interests. Most important it speaks to his sense of entitlement and belief that he doesn't not have to account to anyone..... this applies also to his and David Cohen's attitudes about the gathering of intelligence on peaceful protest groups and others as well without permission of local police departments and, I gather, specifications of what sorts of information they could collect, thus violating the privacy of citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism.... Ray Kelly is a public servant and that should come with some accountability. He is not some rank and file cop.

PCM said...

I think there are two separate points here. One is Kelly's secrecy and lack of accountability. The other is this actually deed. As the latter may reflect the former, I understand your concern. But then the main issue (as you point out) needs to be needs to be Kelly's secrecy and lack of accountability, Exhibit A (or B or Z) in the case against Kelly. But this issue was originally presented as some scandal in of itself, which it's not.