By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there's "a lot of evidence" of wrongdoing in a massive citywide investigation of ticket-fixing at the NYPD.
Speaking Friday on his weekly radio show, the mayor confirmed that the Bronx District Attorney's office is leading an investigation into allegations that hundreds of cops across the city, including Harlem and Washington Heights, made tickets disappear for friends and family.
"There seems to be a lot of evidence that there was a practice that should not have taken place," Bloomberg said of the scandal, whose scope was first reported by DNAinfo.
Police officers allegedly also fixed a ticket for Yankee's executive Douglas Behar, sources told DNAinfo. Sources also said other prominent New Yorkers, including politicians and other big wigs, also had tickets fixed by the police. But none of their names have surfaced.
Sources told DNAinfo that some the cops under investigation were paid to make tickets disappear and also allegedly got other benefits, including free food, booze, home renovations and car repairs.
The probe, whose targets range from highway cops in Brooklyn and the Bronx, to police in Washington Heights, will likely end with several dozen cops arrested and hundreds of others disciplined by the NYPD, sources have said.
Last week, Bloomberg said that fixing tickets would be "almost impossible" today because of a new electronic monitoring system.
"The instant the ticket gets back to the station it goes in," Bloomberg said Friday. "Once it gets into the system, it’d be very hard to fix it, get rid of it, because it’s just too easy to track."
If the practice did take place, "at least we're convinced it won't in the future," he said.
Still, he acknowledged some wiggle room even with the new system.
"Keep in mind you can always have somebody, you know, they’re about to write you a ticket and you say 'Don't.' You know, you convince them not to. At that level, that’s just training and hoping you have the right people. And there'll always be somebody who says, 'Ah, well,'" he said.
But Bloomberg said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who first acknowledged the investigation last week, is confident that cops aren't bucking the new system.
"He's convinced that when the cop gets back to headquarters with the tickets they go right into the computer and after that it would be very hard to manipulate the system," he said.
"Can’t promise zero, but virtually none."
Sources also alleged that some cops may have tried to dismiss tickets by failing to show up to court or by pretending their memories were faulty.