Monday, January 3, 2011
Dave's 'secret' police irk Andy - Nixes Paterson's midnight deal for security detail
The acting head of the State Police defied Gov. Cuomo and tried to give outgoing Gov. David Paterson a costly, round-the-clock security detail and free chauffeur service for 30 days after he left office at midnight Saturday morning, The Post has learned.
But the protective detail was cut back to just two days -- ending last night -- right after Cuomo took office and learned that Paterson was driven to the inauguration by state cops without his knowledge or the knowledge of anyone on his staff.
Cuomo was described as "stunned" to learn that Paterson had a police detail after the new governor's aides had made it clear that Paterson was to be treated the same as Cuomo's father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who received no special protection when he left office in 1994 after three terms.
Sources said Paterson last week called acting State Police Supt. John Melville, whom he put in the job last March amid a series of department scandals, seeking extended security protection, and received a promise for a 24-hour protection detail for at least 30 days, effective Saturday.
Melville never checked his decision with Cuomo's aides, who had already told some reporters in confidence that Paterson would not receive any special State Police protection.
The contradiction produced severe behind-the-scenes tensions between Cuomo's aides and Melville, which were resolved Saturday with a decision to end Paterson's protection.
Paterson left his Harlem home yesterday, with a state trooper at his side, for a two-week vacation in Florida.
"I can't say whether it's fair or not," he said of the decision to yank his protective detail. "I still have some security detail. It's just a minor security issue that will be worked out. That's all."
Meanwhile, it was also learned that Melville and other top officials tried -- but failed -- to block Cuomo's decision to open a portion of the state Capitol to the public. Melville was told last week by a top Cuomo aide that the new governor would lift the ban on public access to the Hall of Governors, outside the governor's suite of offices, which was imposed by former Gov. George Pataki in 1995.
The information was leaked to a veteran Albany reporter, with the claim that the State Police strongly opposed the proposal "in the interest of security."
"That was supposed to be confidential but it was leaked by either Melville or one of his aides trying to kill the new governor's decision," said a source close to Cuomo.
"Here's the State Police claiming they care about security and they can't secure information that was given to them in confidence," the source continued.
Cuomo decided to bounce Melville weeks ago and has named Joseph D'Amico, his top investigator in the attorney general's office and a former NYPD deputy chief, to head the State Police, but that appointment awaits state Senate confirmation.