The new disciplinary charges against suspended Clarkstown police Chief Michael Sullivan accuse him of failing to file annual ethics forms and condoning improper investigations.
The 15 new charges were added to the seven filed against Sullivan when he was suspended July 20. He contends that Supervisor George Hoehmann has targeted him in retaliation for the firing of a sergeant who helped bankroll Hoehmann’s campaign.
The charges accuse Sullivan of insubordination, dereliction of duty, disobedience, incompetence, conduct that discredits the police department and other violations.
The charges vaguely reference Sullivan allowing a sergeant – believed to be Stephen Cole-Hatchard – to conduct improper surveillance and not disciplining him when another law enforcement agency had to curtail the sergeant’s activities.
They also accuse the chief of authorizing investigations, “without any reasonable basis”, of “members of the public, members of the judiciary and/or members of law enforcement” – but offer no details on what the probes entailed or who was targeted.
The chief also was cited for not filing annual ethics disclosure forms with the town from 2011 through 2015. He did so this year after the new administration sent reminder letters. But his lawyer, Richard Glickel, said Sullivan was never asked to file the forms before this year and never notified by the Town Board about failing to file.
On this year’s form, Sullivan reported that his wife, Eileen, works for Crown Trophy, a Pearl River company that is a major awards retailer in the region.
The town has spent more than $11,000 on police retirement plaques, awards and other items since Sullivan became chief in 2011. Glickel said the Sullivans have only been married for two years and that the town has been using Crown since the 1990s. Glickel added that Eileen Sullivan is a part-time employee with no “business interest” in the company.
The lawyer called Sullivan “an honorable man” and derided the charges as “baseless”. He said the administration has brought them to divert attention from its own misconduct.
Sullivan has until next week to respond to the new charges and this week sued the town to block the disciplinary proceedings and end the suspension.
The chief has garnered widespread support in Rockland’s law enforcement community. Both he and Cole-Hatchard maintain that the claims against them are retaliatory and based on police emails that town officials should not have accessed.
The issue grew even murkier with a memo from Capt. Robert Mahon clearing Cole-Hatchard of wrongdoing in an ongoing probe – with town officials unaware of the memo and insisting the probe is not over.