Floral Park resident questions board over commissioner’s texts

Floral Park resident questions board over commissioner’s texts
Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi at a previous meeting. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Klar)

The leader of a Floral Park civic association complained last week that village trustees have failed to take action on possible misconduct by the police commissioner.

The commissioner, Stephen McAllister, has become entangled in a corruption trial involving the New York Police Department. McAllister, a former city police inspector, has not been charged.

But pages of text messages between McAllister and alleged fixer Jeremy Reichberg were released during the trial, and some suggested that McAllister may have intervened in an arrest of a Brooklyn man as a favor for Reichberg.

At the meeting of the village Board of Trustees last Tuesday night, Hillcrest Civic Association President Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz defined bribery, said that the controversy involving McAllister has been exhausting and asked the village Board of Trustees for its response to the developments.

For over a year now, I have implored you, our public servants, our elected officials, to take appropriate action as outlined in municipal law when an employee of the Village of Floral Park is alleged to engage in misconduct,” Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said. “For over a year, you have remained silent and taken no action.”¬†

Members of the board were unavailable for comment.

The text messages were released as part of the corruption trial charging Reichberg, in which he and McAllister are shown talking often about optimal pricing of tickets for concerts, jewelry and other luxury items.

McAllister has done nothing criminal or wrong, according to his attorney, Joel Weiss.

“The government have been far from shy about bringing up charges and it speaks volumes that Stephen has not been charged,” Weiss said. Testimony from Jona Rechnitz, the prosecution’s key witness, has been incorrect and dishonest, Weiss added.

In the trial, Reichberg and former Deputy Inspector James Grant are charged with being part of a corruption ring that offered favors and gifts to officers in exchange for favors.

McAllister retired from his city job in 2009 and joined the village department in 2010.

How can residents trust any decisions made by the board when we can’t even trust them to properly address alleged misconduct?” Holubnyczyj-Orityz said. Despite posing several questions to the board, she said she was not given an answer and Mayor Dominick Longobardi only thanked her for her comments.¬†

After two other residents also asked the board about the circumstances and how the village will proceed, Longobardi said that the board was not allowed to talk about certain things, and deferred to village Attorney John Ryan.

There can be no comment at this time, Ryan said.

One resident, who did not provide his identity, questioned Longobardi’s apparent dismissal of Holubnyczyj-Ortiz over the issue.

“The comments that people are corrupt, bribery and things like that, and the accusations that were in that statement, are far beyond anything anybody should have to tolerate,” Longobardi said.

Holubnyczyj-Ortiz has been vocal in the village over issues such as the village board’s communication over the opening of the village pool to nonresidents and the redevelopment of Belmont Park Arena.

Village resident Matthew Sexton, who also spoke at the meeting, believes that the village board and residents need to allow time for due process, and that McAllister should have the opportunity to provide evidence that may contradict the trial, he said.

There’s no need for an ethics board just yet, Sexton said.

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