Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our Readers Respond...

Support For Richard DiGuglielmo From Former Fellow Officer

Dear Editor:

As a former New York City police detective, I find your unwavering support of New York City Transit Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo to be admirable. I have read every copy of your newspaper. Your journalistic
integrity, though very raw at times, is both refreshing and vital in exposing the spider web of corruption that has existed in Westchester for decades.

As a Conservative, I find that I agree more than I disagree with your somewhat Liberal-leaning paper because you speak the truth. The fact that you will support “Richie” while exposing real police brutality and corruption,
as well as political corruption, is a testament to your Pace University law degree.

While other so-called journalists, like Jeanine Rose, Geraldo Rivera and Sean Hannity, pay homage to Jeanine Pirro, you recognize her for the criminal she truly is.

I had the honor and privilege to work with Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo during the 1980s while we were both New York City Transit Police Officers in the South Bronx.

Richie had come to my aid several times when I called 10-13’s (emergency backup), and so now I am coming to his aid. My last memory of working with Richie was being assigned to the Longwood Avenue subway station in the heart of the old 41st Precinct (Fort Apache).

The black female token booth clerk had recently been raped and we were on the lookout for the possible perpetrator. We were both horrified because we both knew this woman as we worked very closely with New York City Transit Authority employees daily.

New York City was a very different place back in the bad old days. On hot summer nights the sound of gunfire echoed all night off the East River between Harlem and the South Bronx.

And, I have actually seen co-workers who were Vietnam Vets, have “flashbacks”. Richie and I worked in a world very few suburban cops have ever seen. We were hired in the 1980s by Mayor Ed Koch and charged with “taking back the subways.”

Over the years, as a New York City cop and detective, I have seen a number of co-workers go to prison
for a variety of charges. The difference between them and Richard DiGuglielmo is that they were all guilty.

Jeanine Pirro turned Richie’s case into a Spike Lee-version of reality in order to get votes. The truth about Pirro is now coming to light. In Richie’s case she cleverly turned a violent, convicted felon into a hero and a hero cop into a convicted felon.

Pirro had the help of Dobbs Ferry Police Chief, George Longworth, and his so-called detectives as they excluded the NYPD from the investigation.

Now we find that witnesses were coerced and that this case was all a fraud. I find Longworth just as culpable
as Pirro because he is an attorney as well. Whether it was cowardice, or personal ambition, that drove Longworth, remains to be seen.

A Former New York City Detective and Westchester Guardian Fan

Saving Taxpayers Tons of Money

To the Editor:

Westchester County, towns, villages, fire districts and school districts should consider implementing and improving on an initiative that was started by the Texas State Comptroller’s Office that could curb government spending. The suggestion: To establish an on-line WHERE THE MONEY GOES database. Residents would be able to receive maximum information as to how every penny of their tax dollars is spent if this initiative is implemented.

This tool, which was featured in Governing Magazine, lets users search state expenditures by agency, payee, spending category and purchasing classification, and gives transaction details that include amounts and dates, name of the agency making the payment and name of the payee. The database is automatically updated at the end of every day, and also features best practices for government purchases, a glossary of terms and a spotlight
on government savings. The site encourages visitors to submit best practices, and hopes the transparency will lead to new efforts to curb spending and improve government efficiency. Texas’ site joins similar efforts in Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Hawaii and Missouri, from Governing Magazine.

I hope to initiate a similar online WHERE THE MONEY GOES database in 2008. I urge County Executive
Andrew Spano to do the same.

If every employee, department head, elected official knew that their expenditures will be monitored - people
might think twice before spending our tax dollars. This is one initiative that could save tons of money.

Paul Feiner,
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Reader Enjoys Guardian, But...

Dear Editor:

I enjoy reading your newspaper. However, I cannot believe that you believe you provide unbiased reporting. The amount of editorializing Blassberg interjects into his pieces goes way beyond unbiased reporting. Then again, I can’t say it’s not accurate.


Dear Phil,

Mr. Blassberg’s column, The Advocate, is by definition an opinionated, factually-based (as you’ve
discovered), weekly piece specifi-cally intended to motivate readers to demand more truthfulness and
productivity from government and the courts at every level.

On the other hand, The Court Report is a weekly feature which strives to bring readers into the courtroom by way of detailed, quoted dialogue. However, whenever opinion accompanies those reports, he is careful to label such material as “Analysis”.

We are happy that you enjoy The Guardian and we appreciate your constructive criticism.


U.S. Attorney Garcia’s Mixed Message

More than a year and a half ago, on May 12, 2006, to be precise, Michael J. Garcia, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, together with Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director In Charge Of the FBI’s New York Field Office, issued a joint press release announcing: “The Federal Government Is Stepping Up Efforts To Investigate And Prosecute Public Corruption In Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan Counties.” Mr. Garcia and Mr. Mershon took the occasion to announce, “The creation of a Corruption Hotline, 1-877-ENDGRAFT (1-877-363-4723) through which members of the public can call and report potential abuses of the public trust by public officials.”

We, at The Westchester Guardian, know only too well that the hotline has been heavily subscribed here in Westchester.

Numerous readers continue to inform us of their contact with federal agents, sometimes only after repeated
attempts to get through, and finally speak with someone. The clear impression is that the response has been so heavy that FBI and other federal investigators have, in many instances, been disappointingly slow to get back to callers and, in some instances, have failed to give adequate, or any, follow-up attention to requested information.
At the same time, there has been a growing doubt, and increasing expressions of distrust from the public in recent
months, as little, if any, concrete activity; indictments, prosecutions have occurred of public figures in Westchester; individuals whose corruption and lack of trustworthiness continue to be exposed by dedicated attorneys and journalists daily. We, for our part, have taken the position, to those who express their discouragement with the perceived lack of results over the past 19 months, that a broad net has likely been cast, given the pervasiveness of the corruption, not only in County and local government agencies throughout Westchester, but also, and perhaps more signifi-cantly, in the State Courts, and that a thorough investigation requires time and diligence.

Given the above-described circumstances, we are particularly concerned by an article that appeared recently in
The Rivertowns Enterprise newspaper, reporting the appearance of Michael J. Garcia, United States Attorney, at the celebration held in honor of retired Dobbs Ferry Police Chief George Longworth. Any number of readers have contacted The Guardian, questioning why the United States Attorney would lend his apparent support to individuals such as former Chief Longworth, and certain members of the Department, not to mention several Assistant District Attorneys whose prosecutorial misconduct has increasingly, over the past five years, become known to the Federal Courts and the public at large.

Surely Mr. Garcia must recognize the chilling effect that word of his socializing with some of the very individuals in County Government and law enforcement who have been, and continue to be, the subject of reports to the Hotline from injured and aggrieved citizens, will have on future cooperation. At the very least, he must recognize the ‘mixed message’ such apparent endorsements send to decent, law-abiding, citizens, particularly those who have come forward in the belief that the FBI and the US Attorney were finally going to clean up “The Mess In Westchester.”

We prefer to keep the faith, reasoning that it’s unlikely that Mr. Garcia is totally unaware of the prosecutorial misconduct of some of the individuals present at the gathering; for example, Clement Patti, former Assistant District Attorney, who, knowing Nick Djonovic was the killer of Louis Balancio Jr. in February of 1994, nevertheless, even after strong contraindications from the US Attorney’s office, continued to engage in prosecutorial misconduct, in the prosecution and conviction of an innocent man, Anthony DiSimone, merely to enable the fulfillment of Mrs. Pirro’s “13-Year Lie”.

Robert Neary, reportedly also at the gathering, a former ADA under Pirro who not once, but three times, has been forced upon the Westchester Community as a “Judge by Appointment”, despite twice being rejected at the polls. Mr. Neary was the ADA who maliciously prosecuted Matthew McKerrick, a New Rochelle Police Officer, who Neary knew, full well, was asleep during the Robbery and Assault for which he was tried and convicted. Mr. Neary, we might remind our readers, was also the ADA under Carl Vergari, back in 1989, who advised then-Lieutenant Detective Eugene Tumolo, of the Peekskill Police Department, that it was okay to resume his unlawful interrogation tactics against 16-yearold Jeffrey Deskovic, despite the fact that Miranda Attorney Rights had attached. That advice immediately, and directly, resulted in a forced false confession and subsequent conviction of an innocent boy who Tumolo and the DA’s Office knew, for many months prior to trial, was innocent by reason of DNA and hair follicle mismatches.

And, of course, ADA Patricia Murphy was at Longworth’s party. After all, she was the central figure, as has become increasingly more obvious over the past several weeks, in the promotion of the “Big Lie”, the subornation of perjury, the witness tampering, that sent New York City Transit Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo to prison for saving his father’s life, merely because Jeanine Pirro saw the tragic event as another prosecution of political opportunity.

We prefer to believe that Mr. Garcia is not intending to let the People of Westchester down; not intending to shine only the front of the shoe and neglect the back. Furthermore, We do not believe that having called upon honest, decent citizens to come forward with information, and, having received much more than anticipated, he is the least bit intimidated by the enormity of the network of public corruption here in Westchester. Despite what might appear to many as the sending of a mixed message, We would prefer that Mr. Garcia and his staff do it right rather than fast.

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