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Rechnitz: More Trouble for the Feds

December 11, 2017

A former NYPD inspector says he has refuted damning testimony about himself provided by Jona Rechnitz, the feds’ star witness in the corruption trial of former corrections union head Norman Seabrook.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialAt Seabrook’s trial last month, Rechnitz claimed that Stephen McAllister, who retired as an NYPD inspector in 2009 and who is now the police commissioner of Floral Park, Long Island, had been one of four top NYPD brass who Rechnitz flew on a private plane to Miami to attend a college football game in 2013. The group was accompanied by prostitutes Rechnitz said he paid for.

But McAllister, who was investigated by the Floral Park village attorney after Rechnitz’s testimony, said he presented evidence showing he had not been on the plane.

“I paid for my plane ticket,” McAllister told NYPD Confidential in a phone interview. “I showed them receipts … I took a Jet Blue flight on a Saturday to West Palm. The other guys didn’t arrive until Monday. I rented a Budget car and drove to Miami for the Notre Dame-Alabama game. I also provided those receipts. It was the BCS [bowl championship series] on January 7, 2013.”

The feds based their case against Seabrook largely on the word of Rechnitz, who was also at the heart of a federal corruption investigation that led to the retirement or transfer of a dozen NYPD chiefs and inspectors. Rechnitz further claimed that he and his pal, Jeremy Reichberg, had flown Deputy Inspector James Grant and a detective to Las Vegas with a prostitute on board.

Prosecutors accused Seabrook of accepting a $60,000 kickback from Rechnitz in return for steering $20 million in union funds to hedge-funder Murray Huberfeld, who was tried with Seabrook. Jurors apparently questioned Rechnitz’s credibility, resulting in a hung jury.

McAllister’s claims will certainly not help prosecutors, who said they will retry Seabrook. However, it is unclear how they hope to re-establish Rechnitz’s credibility.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard Levitt“I was flabbergasted when I learned of his [Rechnitz's] testimony [about himself],” McAllister said. “In my 34 years of policing, I never had a blemish on my record.” He said that the village had accepted his proof, and that he would continue as Floral Park police commissioner. Village attorney John E. Ryan could not be reached for comment.

McAllister said he met Rechnitz through Reichberg, whom McAllister had known since commanding the 66th Precinct in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

“Everyone knew Jeremy,” McAllister said of Reichberg, who has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. Rechnitz has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in return for his testimony against others.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD Confidential“When you first meet Rechnitz, you don’t know, he seemed like a nice guy,” said McAllister. “He fooled a lot of people. He fooled the mayor,” McAllister said, referring to Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose political campaigns received nearly $200,000 in contributions that Rechnitz arranged. In return, Rechnitz said the mayor gave him his private cellphone number and access to top city officials.

“He fooled the Chief of Department,” McAllister said, referring to NYPD Chief Philip Banks, who befriended Rechnitz.

“He may also have fooled the feds,” McAllister said.

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