The feds say NYPD Deputy Chief Mike Harrington was a cop “on call” to Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, the two businessmen at the heart of the ongoing NYPD corruption scandal.
But if the story rattling around Police Plaza is correct — and more than one top NYPD official says it is — Harrington never complied with Rechnitz’s demands. Rechnitz has been identified as a cooperating witness in the federal case into alleged pay-for-favors at the NYPD.
Consider the $2 million Diamond District heist in 2014, when a beat cop issued Rechnitz’s chauffeur a summons for a moving violation. Rechnitz complained to Harrington that the cop was anti-Semitic and demanded the officer be transferred, said a police source familiar with the case.
When Harrington asked why Rechnitz believed the cop was anti-Semitic, the businessman, referring to himself and his chauffeur, said, “The way he looked at us,” the source said.
Harrington refused to transfer the officer, and warned Rechnitz that if he didn’t stop complaining, he would keep the cop there on overtime, the source said.
But Harrington and Deputy Insp. James Grant were arrested recently, accused of doing favors for Rechnitz and Reichberg in return for gifts including meals and sporting event tickets. Grant and an unidentified detective allegedly were flown to Las Vegas with a prostitute. The two arrests are part of a widening U.S. probe of NYPD corruption. Nearly a dozen top cops have been arrested, transferred, placed on modified assignment and/or have filed for retirement.
The two top cops were arrested on evidence apparently supplied by Rechnitz, who has pleaded guilty in the probe. That is what prosecutors do. They take the guy they catch first and threaten a long prison stretch unless he reveals everything he knows.
The feds said Rechnitz also offered a $60,000 kickback to then-corrections union head Norman Seabrook, allegedly in return for Seabrook’s investment of $20 million of union funds with Murray Huberfeld, a Rechnitz friend and hedge funder. Reichberg’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, has said Rechnitz is “trying to get others in trouble in order to curry favor with prosecutors and save his own skin.”
Police sources say there is more to Rechnitz than the feds know. Stay tuned.