Chief-Leader
October 26, 2015 5:00 pm

 

High-Stress Detective Gets No Relief From Disability-Pension Bid

By MARK TOOR

    
PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘Questioned his legitimacy.’  
 
ROBERT JOHNSON: Made case of quashed summonses.  

he Internal Affairs Bureau Detective who reportedly spearheaded the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal has lost his bid to retire on a disability pension of three-quarters of his final salary for psychological reasons, the Daily News reported last week.

The officer, Randy Katakofsky, 38, claimed he suffered from “post-traumatic mood disorder,” the News reported. Police Pension Board representatives for the Mayor, City Comptroller, Finance Department and virtually all the police unions voted to turn down his request, the paper said. More typically, representatives of the unions vote “yes” on disability requests and representatives of the city vote “no.”

Took ‘Ticket’ Calls to DA

Detective Katakofsky was part of the investigation of Officer Jose Ramos, who was suspected of running drugs out of two Bronx barbershops he owned. When wiretaps revealed calls from other officers discussing the fixing of parking tickets, Mr. Katakofsky reportedly took the information straight to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.

DA Robert Johnson opened a grand-jury investigation and, not to be outdone, the Police Commissioner at the time, Raymond W. Kelly, ordered IAB to conduct an administrative investigation of the same charges.

When indictments were handed down in 2011, 16 officers were named, mostly PBA delegates and trustees who fixed the tickets as a courtesy to other cops. Two Sergeants were charged with unrelated crimes: one with assisting in a robbery and the second with covering up an assault by a friend of another officer.

Lieut. Jennara Cobb, who worked as a Sergeant with Mr. Katakof­sky in IAB, was charged with leaking information about the probe to police officers. And Mr. Ramos was charged with a range of crimes, including robbery, theft, transporting narcotics and plotting—while being held in lieu of bail—to have a key witness killed.

Ran Unauthorized ‘Sting’

Mr. Katakofsky himself was presented with administrative charges that he leaked information about the probe to Ms. Cobb to see whether she would share it with Bronx officers. The NYPD said that this was an integrity test and that Mr. Katakofsky had no authority to conduct it.

Ms. Cobb was convicted of official misconduct and two other misdemeanors. She was fired from the NYPD and is appealing the verdict. Mr. Ramos pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15½ to 23½ years in prison. At least two officers accused of ticket-fixing pleaded guilty and retired from the Police Department.

Dozens of officers underwent administrative discipline resulting from the IAB findings and forfeited some vacation pay before they were allowed to retire.

Mr. Katakofsky reportedly had been isolated within the NYPD even before he sought disability retirement on the basis of stress. “I don’t think he knew what the repercussions would be in terms of the level of animosity,” one source told the News.

No Sympathy From Union

“I didn’t realize ruining the careers of good cops was so stressful,” Joseph Anthony, one of the indicted trustees, told the New York Post.

“We have questioned his legitimacy from the beginning,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch.

Police unions, particularly the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association, criticized the DA and department commanders for criminalizing a practice that was tied into NYPD tradition.