Jail chaplain reponds to allegations

June 12, 2009 3:52:47 PM PDT
The New York City jail chaplain who was suspended after arranging a bar mitzvah for the son of an inmate at the facility known as the Tombs spoke out to Eyewitness News Friday.Rabbi Leib Glanz admitted that he is concerned about the allegations that he gave special treatment to Orthodox inmates, but refused to discuss them.

"I would wish that I can make comments, but I can't," he said.

Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett managed to get Rabbi Glanz outside his home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was exceptionally polite, but insisted that he is forbidden by his union from discussing the case.

"I saw, I read it, and I know exactly what you're talking about," Glanz said, regarding the accusations. "And believe you me, I want to be respectful to you guys. I am in public life for a lot of years, and I don't want to do bad to anybody. But I can't make no comment about the situation, and I hope you understand me."

Asked about how the allegations reflected on him, he responded, "I'm a human being, and everybody is concerned when it comes to this kind of situation."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, asked to respond to the controversy on his weekly radio show, told radio host John Gambling, "Oy vey."

Bloomberg said Thursday that inmate Tuvia Stern should not have taken place and that the city Department of Investigations is looking into the matter.

A Correction Department spokesman confirmed that five staff members were disciplined over the December 30 bash, which was first reported in the New York Post.

Stern was accused in June 1989 of stealing $1.7 million through a pair of financial scams. He jumped bail and fled to Brazil with his wife and five children.

Stern was detained in 2006 while trying to enter England and was returned to the United States last year.

The 47-year-old pleaded guity earlier this year to bail jumping and to grand larceny from the 1989 indictment; he was sent to Woodbourne state prison in the Hudson Valley in April.

Bloomberg was fuming after learning of the event, which included city taxpayers paying overtime for some of the jail staff to help out.

"I don't care how you sugarcoat it or how you define it, it's sort of through the looking glass," the mayor said.

About 60 guests attended, and Stern was allowed to use his own kosher caterer.

Stern also was permitted to swap his jail garb for more festive clothing, and guests kept their cell phones, which normally are not allowed in city jails. A popular Orthodox singer, Yaakov Shwekey, performed.

The party was so successful that Stern held a small engagement party for his daughter at the same venue four months later.

Glanz was suspended for two weeks, and four other staff members lost two weeks of vacation each.

Correction Department spokesman Stephen Morello said he could not comment on the incident beyond confirming that several correction employees worked overtime and that some corrections officials were disciplined.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

USEFUL LINKS:
  • VIEWER PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

  • REPORT TYPO

  • GET WIDGET

  • EYEWITNESS TWITTER

  • FIND US ON FACEBOOK



  • Load Comments