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New York Post

Tragic WTC Cop's Kin: What About Us, Rudy?

By CARL CAMPANILE and SUSAN EDELMAN

May 21, 2006—The anguished mom of a veteran cop who died of a freak cancer four years after working at Ground Zero is demanding that his family get the same consideration as former Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington.

Ronald Weintraub's family and fellow cops claim the city rejected his family's application for a line-of-duty disability pension on a technicality — because the officer didn't file the form himself. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed it on his widow's behalf after his death.

"I hope Ronnie gets the same treatment as Rudy Washington," said Sheila Weintraub, whose 43-year-old son died last Nov. 16 of a rare, liver-related bile-duct cancer. "My son is as important to my family as Rudy Washington is to his. My son gave his life."

The city recently refused to pay Washington's medical costs for severe respiratory problems since his service at Ground Zero — insisting he filed his claim too late.

Washington took his case before the state Workers Compensation Board — one of 10,698 WTC claims filed to date — and won. Still, the city vowed to appeal. But after former Mayor Rudy Giuliani came to his defense last week, Mayor Bloomberg said the city would take care of Washington.

"I wish Rudy Giuliani would go to bat for Ron Weintraub," his mom said.

Weintraub, a muscular 5-feet-10, 220-pound weightlifter, loved ice hockey and rushed home after work to play with his two kids, 9 and 4.

The officer's wife, Eileen Weintraub, believes her husband's cancer was caused by inhaling toxic dust following the 9/11 attacks. She has joined a class-action suit with 8,000 others.

"Ronnie was down there for three weeks. He was covered with white dust," she said.

The former high-school track sprinter's health plummeted in December 2004.

"One day he called me from work and said, 'What does it mean when my eyes turn yellow?' " Eileen Weintraub recalled.

His last months were excruciatingly painful, with gall bladder removal and chemotherapy.

"At least he's not suffering anymore," said the widow.