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Ex-watchdogs disabled, too?

July 1, 2005

Neither Mayor Michael Bloomberg nor City Comptroller William Thompson was talking this week about their votes giving a tax-free, line-of-duty pension to ex-Chief of Detectives William Allee.

Thompson's spokeswoman, Yvette Jackson, said that because the vote was taken in executive session, Thompson was not required to disclose it.

Bloomberg's spokesman, Jordan Barowitz, said, "The medical evidence, the report of the medical board and state law dictated that an accidental disability was appropriate."

Allee was awarded a lucrative pension for hearing loss he supposedly suffered when the Twin Towers fell.

In the past, the mayor and comptroller have served as watchdogs of the Police Pension Board because of abuses leading to top department and police union officials obtaining the tax-free pensions at a far higher rate than rank-and-file cops. Apparently, no longer.

The department's most celebrated hearing loss winner of all time is former Chief of Department Robert Johnston, who a decade ago claimed he suffered his disability at a Rolling Stones concert.

After last week's One Police Plaza column, Joe Morris, the retired chief of department of the Port Authority police, sent the following e-mail: "On 9/11 immediately following the collapse of the South Tower, I sought refuge in a P.A. Police Department command post vehicle. ... Shortly after the collapse, we ... took in three individuals all covered in dust from the dust cloud that was all about us.

"One of them was in bad shape and needed to be helped into the vehicle. I later recognized him as Chief Allee after we literally dug the dust out of every opening on his head," he said. "He looked like a snowman. He had difficulty breathing and we were able to get an oxygen bottle from a fire vehicle parked nearby and he was administered oxygen to help his breathing."

Another e-mail was received from retired Lt. Brian Hughes of the Emergency Service Unit. Hughes was also at Ground Zero when the second tower fell. Unlike Allee, he and 400 other ESU members remained there through June 2002.

In May 2002, he said, department doctors examined the entire unit for all types of injuries at Kingsborough Community College. Hughes was diagnosed with moderate hearing loss. "A lot of guys had stuff," he said, "but we never heard from the department again."

Hughes did not apply for a disability pension and says he knows of no one in ESU who received one from 9/11-related injuries. "We knew we'd never get it. We're not chiefs."

The imam vanishes. What's happened to Imam Izak-El Mu'eed Pasha, the department's Muslim chaplain? He resigned after six years for reasons neither he nor anyone in the department will discuss.

An officer who recently spoke with him says Pasha - who heads the Masjid Malcolm Shabazz Mosque on West 116th Street, where Malcolm X was once minister - told him he had sought to start a fraternal order of Muslim cops but was given the run-around by department higher-ups. "He submitted documents. They kept telling him to re-submit them," said the officer.

Rabbi Alvin Kass, the department's chief chaplain, said Pasha had spoken to him about starting a Muslim organization. "We are all in favor of it," he said.

Asked if Pasha had discussed his resignation, Kass said, "You'll have to ask him."

Howard Beach redux? Will the racial beating of Glenn Moore, 22, become the cause celebre that a similar incident was nearly 19 years ago? Here are some differences:

Moore is not dead.

Racial tensions across the city, which were exacerbated by then-Mayor Edward Koch, have abated.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown won't call for a special prosecutor, which means no Joe Hynes using the case for political advantage; no lawyers like C. Vernon Mason or Alton Maddox, both of whom were subsequently disbarred, to speak for the victim's family.

Lone constant: Al Sharpton, who in 1986 was a year away from the Tawana Brawley incident, appeared yesterday at Moore's bedside.

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© 2005 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.