Indicted Nassau Police officials pension controversy

March 16, 2012 3:18:25 PM PDT
Three Nassau County Police officials indicted for trying to derail a criminal investigation are now sparking more controversy.

Not for the crime, but for the amount of money they're getting after resigning in disgrace.

"Can I get on my happy way now?" Zachary Parker asked.

You too would happy to avoid jail time, but prosecutors say Zachary Parker should be used to it.

After all, they say he's led a charmed life, getting out of trouble over and over, thanks to his dad's connections with the cops.

Friday, Parker pleaded guilty to the 2009 burglary that ruined the careers of some of Nassau County's highest ranking police officials.

"He's certainly distraught and upset that the distinguished careers of those three individuals were affected by what was his alleged conduct," said Mark Gann, Parker's attorney.

Parker now admits to stealing electronic equipment from Bellmore's JFK High School, even though at the time, prosecutors contend his well-connected dad, Gary Parker, called his friends on the force, and got them to look the other way.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan, Deputy Chief of Department John Hunter, and Detective Sergeant Alan Sharpe, on conspiracy and official misconduct.

"Absolutely not guilty," Hunter said.

All three men retired conveniently just in time for the indictment and they all cashed in on the way out.

Just to leave the building, Commissioner Flanagan got almost $450,000.

Hunter walked out with $415,000 and Sharpe took a payout of $321,000.

All told, that's over a million bucks in unused sick and vacation time.

It doesn't even include their pensions.

"When they retire, they get it as basically a bon voyage package," said Larry Levy, Hofstra University.

Larry Levy teaches public policy at Hofstra and says this story is a perfect example of a state retirement system that's bankrupting government.

The state constitution mandates they get every dime of their pensions, even if they're convicted of their accused crimes.

"It would be outrageous if it turns out that they are guilty, that they could take all this money they earned while working for the taxpayers and go away without paying any penalty," Levy said.

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