Floral Park’s McAllister named unindicted co-conspirator in NYPD trial

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Floral Park Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister (Photo courtesy of Floral Park Police Department)

Floral Park Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister is among former New York Police Department officers named as unindicted co-conspirators in a corruption case heading to court this month, according to documents filed by federal prosecutors on Saturday.

McAllister, one of 10 unindicted co-conspirators named, is accused of allegedly interfering in three arrests of unnamed associates of Jeremy Reichberg, a donor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in 2014 and 2015.

The village said it would look into the allegations, but Mayor Dominick Longobardi said as a personnel matter it will not be discussed publicly.

McAllister’s attorney, Joel Weiss, said McAllister has “done nothing criminal and nothing wrong.”

“Steve McAllister is an excellent man and an excellent cop,” Weiss said. “The current allegations are completely false. They’re largely based upon the word of a government witness who is a congenital liar.”

McAllister said he did not wish to comment on the matter.

Several Floral Park residents said during Tuesday’s board meeting that McAllister, who continues to serve as commissioner, should be suspended while the allegations are investigated.

A couple of others defended McAllister’s character and said there is no need for him to be removed even temporarily from his position.

McAllister allegedly interfered with arrests on or about Feb. 16, 2014, Oct. 28, 2015, and Dec. 16, 2015, according to prosecutors.

Records filed by prosecutors in March state that Reichberg provided gifts to a then unnamed Floral Park officer and sought the village officer’s assistance in releasing a person who had been arrested.

Alleged gifts appear to have included event tickets, discounted or free jewelry and a ride on a private plane belonging to another donor, Jona Rechnitz, according to prosecutors.

Susan Necheles, Reichberg’s attorney, filed documents on Monday stating that McAllister was no longer an officer with the New York Police Department during those dates and therefore “any acts taken or influence by him are not part of the conduct charged in the indictment.”

McAllister was one of then former New York police officers named undicted co-conspirators by federal prosecutors in a corruption trial.
(Photo by Rebecca Klar)

McAllister, who was an inspector, retired from the city department and has been the police commissioner in Floral Park since 2010.

He was confirmed in April by the village board to continue in the position with his $245,000 salary.

Longobardi said in an interview that as far as the village knows, the newly surfaced allegations were part of a prior internal village investigation which resulted in McAllister being cleared of bribery allegations.

During testimony in November, the New York Post reported, Rechnitz alleged that he paid for a Miami trip for McAllister and other officers that included prostitutes.

At the time of those allegations, John Ryan, Floral Park village attorney, said he had reviewed all documents and relevant witnesses and found “no factual or legal basis for this claim.”

Longobardi said the village will take a look at the latest matter.

“We have to look at the details and we’ll take the appropriate action necessary if action is required,” Longobardi said in the interview.

Mike Kroeber, a village resident, said at the meeting that there is no transparency in the way the village is handling the matter.

Kroeber said McAllister is a high-ranking public official and the public deserves to know how it is being handled. 

Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz, president of Floral Park’s Hillcrest Civic Association, said that as commissioner McAllister is the “face of the Police Department administratively, politically and in the community.”

“This is not the face of ethical leadership that the Village of Floral Park, or any municipality should accept,” she said. “No leader in our village administration should ever have such accusations landed upon them and remain in their position.”

Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said the village needs to remove McAllister from his post while the allegations are examined, stating that is simply “the right thing to do.”

Failure to do so casts doubt on the integrity of the village administration and Police Department, Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said.

Anthony Brandt, a village resident, said he stands with the commissioner and “every one one of those police officers in that building.”

“Some I grew up with; all good, decent men,” Brandt said. “We give him the benefit of the doubt, I don’t believe these people for a second.”

Brandt said everyone should “take a deep breath” and support McAllister, who he said is the “right man for this job” and “for this village.”

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