Warshaw Won't Return Calls But Continues Sending Invoices Here
By Mike Hudson
International man of mystery Robert Warshaw continued to elude diligent Niagara Falls reporters last week, failing to return numerous calls and emails asking him to explain why in Oakland, Calif., Detroit, Mich., New Orleans, La., and Puerto Rico, his company calls itself “Police Performance Solutions,” while in Niagara Falls it calls itself “Warshaw Associates.”
The team players are all exactly the same, as are the hourly charges of $200 an hour per man. What’s different is the name of the company.
Many have speculated that the name change has to do with campaign contributions given to Gov. Andrew Cuomo or his running mate, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who used to be Warshaw’s underling in the Rochester police department, but the Reporter has been unable to uncover any such contributions in a search of the New York State Board of Elections online database.
“Our department’s administration was forced to sit through three conference calls with prospective monitors in order to hire one,” a high-ranking NFPD officer told the Niagara Falls Reporter. “We wanted to hire a gentleman from Pittsburgh, but when this was told to the Attorney General’s office, the department was told basically to ‘pick again.’” At that time, Andrew Cuomo was still attorney general.
Warshaw’s presence in Niagara Falls is an anomaly. In Detroit, Oakland, New Orleans and Puerto Rico, he operates under consent orders issued by the United States Department of Justice. In Niagara Falls, he is here under the auspices of former state attorney general and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose running mate, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, has a longstanding personal relationship with Warshaw dating back to when both men served on the Rochester city police department.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, a strong supporter of Cuomo’s and no friend of the police, agreed to have an outsider oversee the NFPD in the run-up to the 2010 election.
Unlike the federal consent orders, which require proof of actual criminality on the part of police officers performing their official duties, the Niagara Falls deal was based on a small number of unsubstantiated complaints solicited by then gubernatorial-hopeful Cuomo, who was hoping to make headlines on the Niagara Frontier in order to offset the perceived threat posed by the maverick candidacy of Buffalo developer Carl Paladino.
Paladino carried Niagara County and Warshaw’s presence in Niagara Falls, along with the recent “settlement” between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians centering on the Seneca-Niagara Casino, is widely seen as payback to a disloyal populace here.
Dyster and Cuomo both failed to investigate a single one of the complaints to see whether or not they were true. One source who has seen the complaints said one of them involved the child of a police officer who kicked a football into her yard. City police brass and union representatives were not even made aware of the consent agreement prior to it coming up for city council approval.
And if the experiences of Oakland and Detroit are any indication, our cash-strapped city may be paying for Warshaw’s alleged services for decades to come.
A recent article in the Detroit Times, where Warshaw has been overseeing the police department since 2009 and billed more than $1 million, shows that in his estimation, the force is 91 percent compliant with the various regulations it is his job to institute. But that’s not good enough, he said.
“We acknowledge the long road that brought us to this point, but we must also articulate our concern with the fragility of the achievement and the ease with which it can slip away,” Warshaw wrote. “The devil - of course - is in the details, and the details make clear the fragile nature of compliance and the need to stabilize and institutionalize the reforms.”
In other words, he’s been working there for four years, but isn’t leaving anytime soon. Why should he? He gets paid by the hour.
When Mayor Dyster presented the Warshaw contract for approval to the council, he promised the probe would take just six months and the cost to city taxpayers would be no more than $57,000.
He was either misinformed or just lying. Three years later, Warshaw has invoiced the city for almost $150,000 and there’s no end in sight.
The Niagara Falls consent agreement is set to expire in November and Warshaw is already lobbying hard in Albany to have it extended. With the mealy-mouthed Dyster serving as little more than a water boy to Cuomo, that’s bad news for city cops.
Warshaw has no interest in seeing his Niagara Falls gravy train come to an end this fall, and it is believed he has enough juice in Albany to make sure it doesn’t.
Police sources have said Warshaw’s directives conflict with the Civil Service code, union contracts and state law and are largely unenforceable.
In recent weeks, the Reporter has detailed the sexual harassment accusations that Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana made against Warshaw and the claims of his own brother, former Miami police chief Donald Warshaw, concerning a land swindle involving their aged mother in North Carolina.
Again and again, this newspaper has reached out to the mystery man in the hope of getting some on-the-record comment about these scandals, his presence in Niagara Falls or anything else.
But he has steadfastly refused to return any telephone calls or emails, creating the impression that he is above having to answer to the taxpayers who foot his exorbitant bills.
We can only hope that, come November, the city council majority finds enough backbone to buck the Dyster-Cuomo combine, say no to Albany cronyism and refuse to fund the continued presence of Robert Warshaw in Niagara Falls for three more years.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
AUG 06, 2013