Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gets his annual $1,500 membership dues at the fancy Harvard Club paid for by the non-profit Police Foundation, Leonard Levitt’s blog One Police Plaza Confidential is reporting.
That alone is fairly controversial because regular street cops, as Levitt notes, aren’t even supposed to take a free cup of coffee.
Even more questionable, though, is that, Levitt notes, Kelly’s meals and those of his guests are also comped by the foundation. But Kelly won’t even tell the foundation the names of the people he has entertained there.
The foundation was begun as a way for private donations to fund initiatives by the police commissioner. Thus, the NYPD could avoid the time-consuming city approval process. In the past, the foundation has helped fund the NYPD’s anti-terror programs.
Is the Kelly arrangement a violation of the NYPD Patrol Guide? Well, one section says that no member of the service may accept any “reward, gratuity, gift or other compensation for any service performed as a result of their duties as public servants.” City employees can’t accept a gift of more than $50 from anyone doing business with the city.
Is this a matter for the New York City Conflict of Interest Board to investigate? Well, former commissioner Howard Safir had to repay the Revlon Corporation $7,100 for a free flight and hotel to the 1999 Oscars.
Ycu be the judge.
Calls and emails for comment to the Police Foundation, the Conflict of Interest Board, the mayor’s office, and the NYPD were not immediately returned.
UPDATE: Kelly’s spokesman Paul Browne tells the New York Times that the practice was lawful and “intended for city business.” Browne allowed that Kelly “might have errred” by failing to report the payments on his annual disclosure reports filed with the Conflict of Interest Board.