Lavish Bar Mitzvah in Jail? Even Rikers and Tombs Bosses Aren't That Dumb, Are They? (Updated!)
From the 'Are You Kidding Me' department...So, all the guy wanted was a bar mitzvah for his son. Sure, he's locked up in the Tombs in downtown Manhattan. But why should being in a city jail stop him? A bar mitzvah is pretty important, right?
And who would blame the bigwigs of the Department of Correction if they just let the guy have his bar mitzvah right there in the jail house? They do it all the time. Remember that barbeque at Rikers Island for that mobster's 50th birthday party? That was awesome.
In all seriousness, as the New York Post reports this morning, Correction officials somehow allowed accused financial scammer Tuvia Stern to hold a party in the jail's gym Dec. 30 for his son and 60 guests, complete with high-end catered grub. No baloney sandwiches for them! But wait, there was much more than fine cuisine...
While the DOC routinely confiscates cell phones from visitors to Rikers, the party guests were allowed to keep theirs -- a significant breach of security.
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Not only that, but the Post says that the city paid overtime to the officers assigned to provide security for the party.
And Stern was allowed to have another jailhouse party in April for his daughter.
A supposedly irate Commissioner Martin Horn suspended the department's rabbi, Leib Glanz, for two weeks, the Post says. He also snatched two weeks of vacation days from an assistant commissioner, Imam Umar Abdul-Jamil, warden George Okada, and two top chiefs, Peter Curcio and Frank Squillante.
While he was at it, Horn should have docked himself a couple of weeks pay. Such an event almost certainly would have made its way into a number of incident reports. So, either Horn knew about it and condoned it. Or he didn't know about it, which may be even worse.
Horn's leaving office at the end of the month, so we guess it'll be someone else's headache.
UPDATE: We checked with the Correction Department spokesman Stephen Morello, and he said the department was made aware of the parties by an anonymous letter received in mid-May.
"That's what prompted the internal investigation that led to the disciplinary measures and referal to the department of investigation," Morello says.
Morello says the chiefs were disciplined because of "their awareness of the plan and their failure to bring it to the attention of their superiors."
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