Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, the Bronx Bombers’ formidable late owner George Steinbrenner and hip-hop star Jay-Z are among the celebrities who had speeding and other moving violations wiped away by members of the NYPD, reports the Daily News.
Three current City Council members also had tickets disappear, reports the News.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the accusations involving these men are part of an ongoing investigation into possible rampant ticket-fixing by police union delegates. Up to 40 NYPD officers could be arrested and at least 100 others could face departmental charges in the probe.
As for the allegations involving the bigwigs and elected officials, one police source told the News, “It was very easy for a big name to walk away from a summons. [Celebrities] have contacts everywhere. There’s an eagerness to help because of who they are.”
An NYPD sergeant ended up nixing a speeding ticket a highway cop gave A-Rod on the West Side Highway in 2009, reports the News. The Yankees declined the News’ request for comment on the allegations involving A-Rod. A-Rod’s spokesman declined to comment as well.
A driver for Jay-Z also got a speeding ticket while driving on the West Side Highway, but a police officer “lost” the violation and the case was tossed, reports the News. Jay-Z’s publicist declined the paper’s request for comment.
The three current council members – one from Manhattan and two from the Bronx – allegedly called in favors to friends in the force to have their tickets wiped away, reports the News. The city’s legal department declined the News’ request for comment.
Meanwhile, the ongoing official investigation could bring more serious charges to some officers, who were caught on wiretaps arranging to meet and pay for dates with prostitutes, and trying to bribe their union delegates into dismissing summonses and arrests for either themselves or family members, according to the News.
The first wiretap went up in late 2008 or early 2009, the News reports, after Officer Jose Ramos -- then a union delegate, and whose phone had been bugged as part of an investigation into his possible ties to a drug dealer -- is heard asking a PBA delegate to dismiss a summons.
Internal Affairs pursued the probe, believing at first it would be limited to the delegate who took the call and possibly two other police officers.
"But it took and went in every direction," a source told the Daily News.
According to the News, investigation findings so far include:
- More than two dozen police officers fixed summonses in exchange for gifts, including tickets to Yankees games.
- At least 15 officers intentionally "lost" tickets as a favor to fellow officers.
- Dozens of cops asked union delegates to fix tickets for friends, relatives and "influential" figures, including unidentified city government officials.
- A handful of officers tried to have arrests voided for themselves or relatives.
Prosecutors from the Bronx district attorney's office are presenting evidence to a grand jury which ends May 28, but was extended another 30 days. Grand jurors were informed late last week that testimony in the case will likely be heard until June 20, reports the News.