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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ex-state cop big kept badge & gun

Ex-state cop big kept badge & gun
The New York Daily News by KENNETH LOVETT - May 25th 2008

ALBANY - A former top state police official linked to a probe of a possible dirty tricks unit kept his ties to the agency - and his gun and badge - through an unusual special appointment. When former Col. Daniel Wiese retired in 2003, then-state police Superintendent James McMahon appointed him to be an unpaid "special assistant," according to an April 24, 2003, letter obtained by the Daily News. "Pursuant to the authority vested in me ... I hereby appoint you, effective this date, as a sworn member of the New York State Police to serve, at the pleasure of the superintendent, and without compensation, in the position of special assistant to the superintendent," McMahon wrote. Current and former members of the agency said they were unaware of the arrangement. "That's a new one to me," said former state police Superintendent Wayne Bennett, who succeeded McMahon in September 2003. Bennett said he had heard of superintendents hiring special assistants for pay, but never formally naming someone upon retirement as an unpaid assistant. McMahon did not return a call seeking comment.

One source said the appointment, and the reference to Wiese being a "sworn member of the New York State Police," was done so Wiese could continue to carry his gun and shield, after retiring. He gave them up last May. Another source said the fact that Wiese could keep his gun and shield sent a strong message that he still had political power. Wiese, who is close to former Govs. George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer, headed up Pataki's security until retiring and taking a job as inspector general at the New York Power Authority. In a recent e-mail to the authority board, Wiese said he was an unpaid security adviser after he retired to become NYPA's inspector general. "I have not been a member of the state police since 2003 ... I have not even visited the state police headquarters since 2004," he wrote. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office is investigating whether the Pataki and Spitzer administrations misused state police to compile information on political enemies. Wiese is a key figure in the probe. He was fired from his $182,000-a-year authority job on Friday. Pataki has denied the existence of a rogue unit in the state police.

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