MANHATTAN — A high-ranking police official ensnared in the NYPD/City Hall corruption scandal has filed for retirement with fewer than 20 years on the force, signaling that he wanted to protect his pension rather than risk losing all of it if he were arrested, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Deputy Inspector James Grant, who served as the commander of the Upper East Side's 19th Precinct before his name surfaced in the NYPD pay-for-favors scandal, filed for retirement Tuesday morning.
He had been a police officer for 19 years and 11 months, and chose to try to cash in on his pension just shy of his 20th year of service, which would have provided him with a considerably larger sum, sources said.
Grant feared he would be arrested and indicted by federal authorities investigating alleged corruption in the NYPD and City Hall before he hit the 20 year plateau. If that were to happen while he was on the force, Grant would lose his pension. If he's arrested after he's retired, he gets to keep it.
“He wanted to protect what he could and not risk losing it all,” a source said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton can block Grant's retirement by filing a charge against him. He has 30 days to do so.
Grant was stripped of his badge and gun in April amid speculation he took trips in private jets to Las Vegas with two wealthy businessmen and other high-ranking police officials tied to the probe.
He also accepted a discounted price on a pair of earrings he bought for his wife on a recent anniversary from a jeweler who was friends with the two businessmen.
Grant’s lawyer, John Meringolo, could not be reached for comment.
Grant had repeatedly declined to talk with the FBI and was told that he would face charges if he continued to hold out.
Grant, who previously served in Borough Park's 66th Precinct, was friends with one of the two businessmen, Jeremy Reichberg, for nearly a decade, and occasionally served as a personal escort for him, sources said.
Last week, Bratton fired a detective who served as the community affairs officer at the 66th Precinct when he tried to retire. Det. Michael Milici, a veteran of more than 20 years on the force, evoked his Fifth Amendment rights when he was confronted by the FBI.
He will collect his full pension because although he's been fired, he hasn't been arrested or convicted.
Grant is among nearly a dozen top NYPD officials caught in the probe, that has reached into City Hall with federal agents looking into Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising activities.
The probe, led by the U.S. Attorney's office that also includes the Manhattan District Attorney, has been ongoing for two years.