The Nassau County Legislature's Democratic caucus Thursday called for former NYPD Det. Richard "Bo" Dietl to testify under oath before the full panel on a pair of contracts his security firm was awarded, including a feasibility study on the merger of the Hempstead and Freeport village police departments.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), in a letter to Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), said the two contracts awarded to Dietl's Manhattan-based investigations firm -- the $24,000 merger contract awarded in 2014 and a 2011 contract for $24,947 to evaluate security at the Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant in Seaford -- were "crafted . . . to avoid legislative review and approval."
Both contracts were under $25,000 -- the dollar amount that would have warranted legislative scrutiny.
"The activities of the consultants were evidently concealed even from the villages whose police forces were supposedly being analyzed, thereby casting doubt upon the credibility and value of the alleged work product produced by the consultant,' " Abrahams wrote. "Moreover, the work product under the Police Department contract was a 13-page report containing a 4-paragraph consolidation analysis that under any fair reading is superficial at best."
Gonsalves' spokeswoman said she received the letter but had not yet reviewed it, and was at an event in her district and unavailable to comment.
Dietl, who according to his firm was at the Art Basel festival Thursday, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Dietl has said he hasn't been paid for the merger contract and would have his accountant call the county to seek payment.
Both County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, and acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter declined interview requests Thursday. At an unrelated news conference at Nassau police headquarters in Mineola, Krumpter left the podium quickly when asked about the Dietl contracts.
In response to an inquiry, Krumpter said in a statement that Dietl's merger report is "incomplete, a number of questions remain unanswered and therefore the contractor has not been paid." Mangano, in a statement, said of the merger contract: "The impetus was to offer ways to lower the crime rate in Hempstead as the village has a murder rate that equates to nearly 50 percent of total murders countywide."
Mangano's spokesman did not respond when asked if the county planned to pursue the merger and how it could realistically happen without the support of either village government. Officials in both Freeport and Hempstead have said they didn't know about the merger study and don't support it. Both village's boards of trustees would have to amend their charters in order to dissolve their police departments.
Dietl's firm was paid for the security analysis at Cedar Creek and county officials were "satisfied with the work performed by Beau Dietl and Associates," Mary Studdert, a spokeswoman for the county's Department of Public Works, said in a statement.
A security analysis by an outside firm was "warranted" because it was "during a period in which wages were frozen and instances of vandalism and sabotage occurred at the plant," Studdert said.
In response to the recommendations, including better security awareness and more security cameras, made in the 13-page report, meetings were held "regarding facility security, including that at the front gate," Studdert said, adding: "Supervisors were also directed to conduct random tours throughout the facility and a protocol was instituted to document these tours. Repairs were made to surrounding fences and lighting throughout the plant was repaired and enhanced."
At a news conference Thursday, the heads of the Nassau, Freeport and Hempstead police unions derided the contracts as wasteful.
Hempstead Lt. Frank McNamee said of the merger study: "Nobody knew about it. And nobody was supposed to know about it. . . . It seemed like someone wanted to curry favor with a celebrity bodyguard."