Jail Chaplains Boss: 'I Didn't Know.' Warden: 'Oh Yes You Did.'
Last week, as the scandal over the Bar Mitzvah boiled into the public eye, Correction Commissioner Martin Horn held a high-level meeting with several of the people responsible for allowing an accused felon to throw the catered party.
If you recall, the New York Post reported last week that Correction officials allowed Tuvia Stern, a former fugitive accused of fraud, to hold a party Dec. 30 for his son and 60 invited guests in the gym at the Tombs, a city-run Manhattan lockup. They also allowed him to throw an engagement party in the jail in April for his daughter.
Rabbi Leib Glanz, a department chaplain with political hookups to the Giuliani administration, was also instrumental in getting special favors for Jewish inmates in the lockup, like bringing them chicken, salmon and roast beef, and allowing calls to girlfriends and bookies, the Post reported.
Correction sources tell the Voice that Horn called the meeting a week ago Monday with Chief of Department Carolyn Thomas, Bureau Chief Peter Curcio, Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, the assistant commissioner in charge of ministerial services, and Tombs warden George Okada.
Glanz who pushed for the event to happen was not there, as he had already been suspended.
Here's where it gets interesting....
Initially, Abdul-Jalil [pictured above] claimed that he was not responsible for approving the bash, the sources said.
But then, in a dramatic moment, Okada declared he wanted to set the record straight before explaining his own thinking on the matter to Horn, the sources said.
Okada then told Horn that in fact Abdul-Jalil had approved the event, and he had an email from him to prove it.
Horn asked Okada to give him the email, but Okada insisted on reading the email aloud before handing it over to the commissioner.
In the email, notably, Abdul-Jalil, who has a city-owned car at his disposal in addition to a nice salary, said it was okay to allow in catered food, but no food was allowed to be taken back to the cells. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!
Curcio told the Post in today's paper that he deserved ultimate responsibility, but he actually didn't approve the event. Abdul-Jalil did, Curcio said.
Sources say that Curcio did dispatch an aide to look into the party planning prior to the Dec. 30 event, but he believed only 10 people would be present. He didn't know it would be a catered affair attended by 60 people.
Reached at his office this morning, Abdul-Jalil hung up on a Voice reporter. "I can't make no comments about that, hello, I can't make any comments about it," he said.
So, what does it all mean? Well, Curcio has resigned. Glanz has resigned. But Abdul-Jalil, who appears to have lied to Horn, got off with the loss of some vacation days--basically a slap on the wrist.
If an assistant commissioner can lie to a city commissioner and get away with it, what does that say about accountability in the department?
Asked why Abdul-Jalil is still on the job, Correction Department spokesman Steve Morello declined to comment.