January 30, 2008

Federal Order Forces Police to Testify in IG Waterfront Probe

Federal Order Forces Police to Testify in IG Waterfront Probe

A District Court judge’s ruling issued Jan. 30 will require a police sergeant and others to testify in the New York State Inspector General’s corruption probe of the Waterfront Commission.

U. S. District Court of New Jersey Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh rejected Sergeant Ramon Martinez’s bid to refuse to answer questions in an ongoing investigation into possible corruption at the bi-state Waterfront Commission.

Inspector General Kristine Hamann was authorized by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer in October to look into allegations of misconduct, conflicts of interest and abuse at the Waterfront Commission.

This decision “allows us to go forward with our thorough investigation,’’ Inspector General Kristine Hamann said. ‘‘And it will help us ensure that the Waterfront Commission is doing its job properly and fulfilling its mission to prevent criminal infiltration at the ports of New York and New Jersey.

The commission oversees hiring at the docks and is mandated to deter criminal activity at the New Jersey and New York waterfronts.

Martinez was the first witness subpoenaed by the Inspector General, which initially sought his voluntary cooperation. But Martinez argued in court that neither a New York nor a New Jersey agency, acting alone, had jurisdiction in the case.

Judge Cavanaugh found that, in fact, the New York probe is part of a cooperative effort with New Jersey.

The Waterfront Commission was created more than 50 years ago to root out corruption on the docks. For more information, contact Steven Del Giacco of the state Inspector General’s office at 474-1010.