A former NYPD inspector says he has refuted damning testimony about himself by Jona Rechnitz, the feds’ star witness in the corruption trial of ex-corrections union head Norman Seabrook.
At the trial last month, Rechnitz said Stephen McAllister, who retired from the NYPD in 2009 and is police commissioner of Floral Park on Long Island, had been one of four NYPD brass Rechnitz flew on a private plane to a college football game in Miami 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 showed evidence that he had not been on the plane.
“I showed them receipts,” he told NYPD Confidential. “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.”
The feds based their case against Seabrook largely on Rechnitz, who was at the heart of a corruption probe that led to the retirement or transfer of a dozen NYPD chiefs and inspectors.
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; the trial ended in a hung jury.
McAllister’s claims will not help prosecutors, who plan to retry Seabrook. And it’s unclear how they hope to re-establish Rechnitz’s credibility.
McAllister said Floral Park accepted his proof, and he continues as commissioner. Village attorney John E. Ryan could not be reached for comment.
McAllister said he met Rechnitz through Jeremy Reichberg, whom McAllister knew since commanding the 66th Precinct in Borough Park.
“Everyone knew Jeremy,” he said of Reichberg, who has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges. Rechnitz pleaded guilty to fraud in return for his testimony.
“When you first meet Rechnitz, you don’t know, he seemed like a nice guy. He fooled a lot of people. He fooled the mayor,” McAllister said, referring to Bill de Blasio, whose political campaigns received nearly $200,000 in contributions Rechnitz arranged.
“He may also have fooled the feds,” McAllister said.