The New York Post by Philip Messing - January 7, 2011
Scandal over kin's 'police cab ride'
Two top Port Authority cops are resigning three days after The Post reported that one of them arranged for an officer to chauffeur his college-age daughter from Kennedy Airport to New Jersey and the other falsely denied knowing about it, a source told The Post yesterday. Chief Robert Belfiore, the agency's top uniformed officer and the young woman's father, pulled the plug on his 30-year career Wednesday and was "cleaning out his desk" yesterday, the source said. Inspector Kenneth Honig, the top PAPD cop at JFK, agreed to accept a buyout equal to six months pay after "they made him an offer he wasn't allowed to refuse," according to an insider. Honig, 56, had gotten an unpleasant surprise yesterday when he was summoned to an interview that he believed could lead to a promotion to deputy chief. He was coldly informed he was being considered instead for administrative charges growing out of the free ride, the source said. The men's careers began to crash in flames in September when Belfiore made a fateful call to PA cops at JFK. According to the tipster who alerted the agency, he told the officer who answered, "My daughter was supposed to go into Newark Airport but her plane was diverted to JFK. Can you give her a ride to New Jersey?" Belfiore asked for Honig, who was not available. So another subordinate, Capt. Joseph Scarano, served as booking agent. Belfiore, 61, earned $157,558 in 2009 and isn't leaving empty-handed. He is expected to stay until later this month -- and then file for a pension worth at least $120,000 a year by claiming he suffered a line-of-duty injury, the source said. Belfiore was spotted recently wearing a neck brace -- which the source said figures in his anticipated pension claim. Honig, in his first interview with investigators, claimed he knew nothing about turning an on-duty cop into a taxi driver paid by the public. When Honig was invited down again, he changed his story after he was confronted with the statement of a colleague who said the inspector had indeed been briefed. Honig insisted he still didn't remember, but conceded if another officer said he was told, then "I probably was," according to people familiar with the probe. No one else involved, including Scarano or the officer who drove the young woman, is expected to face charges. Honig also made headlines recently after it was determined that he had approved a $30,000 payment to a subordinate, Sgt. John Farrell, who logged 277 hours of overtime during two weeks in September when the United Nations was in session. Asked about the generous payout, Honig allegedly said, "Yeah, I authorized it, but so what? The feds are paying for it."