Friday, October 7, 2011
How Detective Randy Katakofsky's drug-deal snoop became massive tix-fix probe
A detective assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating suspected ties between a cop and a drug dealer when he came across the root of what became the ticket-fixing probe.
Sources told the Daily News that Detective Randy Katakofsky took his early suspicions directly to a top Bronx prosecutor almost three years ago.
It wasn't clear whether Katakofsky bypassed his supervisors in IAB or went to prosecutors after bosses scoffed at the notion of investigating ticket-fixing in favor of the drug probe. Sources said Katakofsky was convinced he was onto something big.
It's his baby," one source said of Katakofsky's feelings about the case. "It's his life. But guys he's known for years don't want anything to do with him. He's a good man, everything else aside."
But some of his brothers in blue have no love for the 11-year veteran.
I don't think he knew what the repercussions would be in terms of the level of animosity," the source said.
Katakofsky was initially investigating Officer Jose Ramos, suspected of having ties to a drug dealer, sources said.
But when Ramos was heard on wiretaps talking about fixing tickets, a narrowly focused investigation mushroomed into a much larger probe.
Katakofsky turned to a friend, prosecutor Thomas Leahy, the chief of the Rackets Bureau for the Bronx district attorney's office, sources said. The DA's office at that point joined forces with IAB.
More than 500 cops have been investigated. Indictments against 17 officers are expected to be announced soon, and dozens more could face internal departmental charges or discipline, sources said.
Katakofsky referred all questions to the NYPD's press office, which would not comment.
Those who know Katakofsky, 34, said his decision has come with a price - the enmity of colleagues who feel ticket-fixing is a professional courtesy, not a crime.
A second source said Katakofsky's decision "has worn him down."
It takes a toll," he said. "I can't even imagine what it's like to be the guy who started this."