October 21, 2014

Police Union Heads Join in Criticizing Aide to Mayor’s Wife


Three police unions have weighed in on the case of Rachel Noerdlinger, First Lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled $170,000-a-year chief of staff. They were not supportive.

Ms. Noerdlinger, 43, ran into trouble starting Sept. 25, when the website DNAinfo reported that she “is in a serious relationship with a convicted killer and interstate drug trafficker.”

Record of Arrests

She has lived for the past two years with Hassaun McFarlan, who served a prison term for manslaughter as a teenager. He has been arrested several times since then, most recently a year ago, when prosecutors said he almost hit a New Jersey police officer while driving Ms. Noerdlinger’s 2004 Mercedes-Benz.

More damaging disclosures followed. Ms. Noerdlinger did not report her relationship with Mr. McFarlan when she was vetted by the Department of Investigation. She did not tell the Conflicts of Interest Board that she is paying off a $28,000 Federal tax lien. She was in her Mercedes with Mr. McFarlan in 2011 when they were pulled over and he was arrested on marijuana-possession charges.

Anti-Cop, Women Rants

She owes nearly $900 in city traffic tickets on that car. Her 17-year-old son, Khari, posted messages on Twitter that could be considered derogatory to police, white people and women. Mr. McFarlan has posted similar rants on the Web.

Ms. Noerdlinger received a city waiver allowing her to continue living in New Jersey so her son could continue to see his doctors following two car accidents in 2012. But it turns out he returned to the Palisades Park High School football team last year, playing nine games.

Ms. Noerdlinger had already been criticized by people questioning whether the taxpayers should be providing Ms. McCray, who is unelected, with such an expensive aide.

Others are not fans of her former employer, activist Rev. Al Sharpton, for whom she was a press representative. These critics deplore Mr. Sharpton’s influence with Mayor de Blasio, and were especially offended when Ms. Noerdlinger accompanied Ms. McCray to an NYPD Compstat meeting.

Mayor de Blasio has sought to cut off criticism of Ms. Noerdlinger. “Case closed,” he told reporters several days after the initial story. His office issued a statement saying DOI had “found no evidence of intent to deceive the Mayor or City Hall.” However, some critics maintained that failing to disclose information to DOI would result in a typical employee being fired.

Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, called last week for her to be gone. “We’re at a point where the Mayor needs to fire her or she needs to resign,” he said in an interview.

“Why is she the choice for this position?” he continued. “Is DOI incompetent or were they told to disregard all the negative stuff? What’s really going on in City Hall?”

Good Enough for Cops...

“Ms. Noerdlinger is a skilled public-relations person who doesn’t live up to her public statements,” Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement Oct. 2. “Given her companion’s criminal history and his record of hateful posts on social media, it is easy to see why she might intentionally fail to mention that relationship, which would disqualify from employment, during her pre-hiring investigation. 

‘Lie Should Mean Firing’

“The standards that apply to hiring police officers should apply equally to hiring high-ranking, influential staff members,” he continued. “If it is found that she committed a lie of omission during the investigation, then she should be fired.”

Captain’s Endowment Association President Roy Richter was a little more lenient, saying in a statement last week, “If none of this would have impacted her hire, it should not result in her termination.” But, he added, “each new disclosure is increasingly disappointing.”