REPORT: SWAT WORSE THAN WASTE Internal probe sees LaBruno in 'illegal' pact

Internal probe sees LaBruno in 'illegal' pact

Thursday, May 29, 2008 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - Police Chief Carmen LaBruno, who is retiring at the end of next month with a six-figure pension, and former SWAT team leader Lt. Angelo Andriani abused their positions of authority and engaged in illegal conduct, a scathing internal investigation into the Hoboken Police Department has found.

LaBruno and Andriani, who is suspended in the wake of the SWAT team scandal, are not the only cops slammed in the report. Members of the SWAT team who have filed a discrimination lawsuit against Andriani and the department also are treated harshly in the report.

Hoboken labor attorney David Corrigan's March report entitled "In the Matter of an Investigation of the Hoboken Police Department" did not make recommendations, but was intended for internal use by the Hoboken administration to decide what disciplinary action to take following the scandal. The Jersey Journal was provided with a copy of the report that was dated March 25 of this year.

"There have been allegations of wrongdoing brought against certain members of the department," city attorney Steven Kleinman said in a faxed statement. "They were investigated and remedial actions are now being taken."

Despite being blasted in the report, LaBruno, 59, apparently is not subject to "remedial actions." He will retire June 30 after 37 years on the force with a state pension estimated at $147,000 per year and a one-time payment of between $275,000 and $375,000, city officials said.

LaBruno's attorney, Mark Rufolo, said yesterday the report was "incomplete, ignored important facts and reached conclusions without valid basis."

"It is irresponsible and inappropriate to be in the public domain," Rufolo said.

The report goes beyond the Hooters and Mardi Gras photo scandals - in which photos surfaced of LaBruno, Andriani and other officers posing with women holding their weapons - and alleges a cozy relationship between Andriani and LaBruno that led to Hoboken cops working at Andriani's Verona home and points out that the SWAT team - which has now been disbanded - served absolutely no useful purpose.

The SWAT team provided "virtually no meaningful services to the city" and led directly or indirectly led "to several acts of misconduct engaged in principally by Andriani."

LaBruno allowed Andriani to keep the SWAT bus at his home in Verona, the report said, which "gave Andriani a license to have the police officers engage in private work for Andriani while they were being paid by the city," the report says.

The report alleges that Andriani and LaBruno entered into a "secret" and "illegal" verbal agreement where Andriani allowed the Police Department to use his boat. In return, LaBruno allowed Andriani to use the city's $15,000 dock, for his "boating pleasure."

Neither Andriani nor LaBruno could be reached for comment yesterday.

The report details many of the allegations reported in The Jersey Journal over the past nine months - LaBruno allowed Andriani to collect SWAT dues through members' paychecks without exercising "any oversight" and Andriani used SWAT funds to pay for the chief's trip to New Orleans in 2006.

Rufolo said LaBruno received administration approval to allow Andriani's boat to be docked and that LaBruno paid his own way to New Orleans.

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