A top executive at the investment bank JP Morgan Chase has special access to police headquarters, the Voice has learned. The mystery is why.
Most of us regular folks have to go through a ridiculous security screening process just to get into 1 Police Plaza (a public building, by the way), including showing ID and being vetted first at the blockhouse outside, and then again inside, submitting to two metal detector sweeps, and justifying one’s presence.
But sources tell the Voice that Richard Breunich, a managing director with the bank who splits his time between the city and Punta Gorda, Fla., has “special entry status” at police headquarters. His picture was posted recently with that label in the headquarters security office.
This means that Breunich is allowed to avoid those long security queues.
It’s doubtful that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would dole out this privilege to a once-a-year visitor, so likely, Breunich is a regular at headquarters.
Is he performing some kind of service for Kelly and the NYPD? Is he advising Kelly? Is he a police buff who likes hanging around cops? Are he and Kelly friends?
We twice asked Kelly’s spokesman Paul Browne this question, and received no response. We also asked two JP Morgan spokespeople, and got silence.
Kelly’s ties to corporate bosses have been the subject of some controversy in recent years. Most recently, JP Morgan gave $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation, which funds Kelly’s pet projects, including the network of overseas detectives sent to monitor terror plots.
That gift was reportedly for technology upgrades for the NYPD. At the time, the foundation head called JP Morgan “an incredible partner with the foundation for providing technology that the police budget can’t afford.” Civil liberties advocates said private money funneled through a private foundation shouldn’t be used for controversial police operations. Occupy Wall Streeters said the gift was quid pro quo for the NYPD crackdown which cost the city $2 million in overtime.
Is there any connection between the $4.6 million gift and Breunich’s special access?
Kelly also came under criticism for hosting lunches and drinks for bigwigs at the swanky Harvard Club on the foundation’s dime. The foundation also paid his membership dues.
Kelly worked at JP Morgan during the 1990s, though Breunich was not employed there at the time.
Breunich previously worked at Citigroup, Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, and appears to specialize in high tech projects. At Citigroup, he was head of a division that developed computer security programs.
Since no one at headquarters or JP Morgan are talking, let’s throw the question open to the floor, and hear some theories.