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Bratton and the Conflict of Interest Issue: The Berkow Connection

When Bill Bratton abruptly resigned in early August as LA police chief, questions were raised about a possible conflict of interest over his relationship with federal monitor Michael Cherkasky and whether it influenced the decision to end the LAPD’s federal court consent decree.

Bratton announced he was joining Altegrity Security Consulting, a huge global security firm that had recently appointed Cherkasky as CEO, a disclosure that came just three weeks after the 9-year-old consent decree was lifted on the recommendation of Cherkasky.

The LA Weekly, KPCC and the LA Times all questioned the timing and whether Bratton and Cherkasky talked about the job prior to the June 15 end of the monitor’s contract and whether there was a conflict of interest.

“The manner and timing of Bratton’s departure is almost breathtakingly irresponsible,” wrote Tim Rutten in the Times.

“It also raises troubling questions about his relationship with Michael Cherkasky, the court-appointed monitor who evaluated the LAPD’s compliance with the federal consent decree, and about Cherkasky’s role in convincing the federal judge to terminate oversight of the department … In other words, the monitor gave the court advice that helped cement Bratton’s reputation as the country’s leading police chief, then just weeks later the two enter into a lucrative business arrangement built on that very reputation.”
berkowsav.jpg
There were denials all around and the matter dropped without anyone taking notice that just three weeks after Bratton’s announcement another top police official — Savannah Chief Michael Berkow — with long-time ties to Bratton and Cherkasky announced he too was resigning to join Altegrity after discussions he said started in April.

That would push Cherkasky’s recruiting efforts back two months before his contract as federal monitor of the LAPD ended and raises new questions about when his talks with Bratton actually began.

“Under L.A. ethics laws, officials cannot directly or indirectly negotiate future employment with anyone who has something pending before that official’s agency,” Jill Stewart wrote in the LA Weekly on mid-August.

The ties between Bratton, Berkow and Cherkasky run deep and revolve around the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a foundation now headed by Miami Police Chief John Timoney.

PERF wields enormous influence in law enforcement circles and provides a revolving door for top cops like Bratton to move in and out of highly-paid consulting jobs as they hop between roles in police agencies.


Bratton, for instance, came to LA as a consultant on the consent
decree, caught the notice of Police Commission head Rick Caruso and was
named chief in 2002 when Mayor James Hahn dumped Bernard Parks.

Months
later, in March 2003, Bratton hired Berkow, then Irvine police chief,
to head the LAPD’s internal affairs unit, a critical element in
rebuilding confidence in the department and meeting the requirements of
the consent decree. Berkow, then 47, became the first high-ranking
sworn officer other than the chief to come from outside the ranks of
the LAPD.

“Bratton knows Berkow well. The Irvine chief worked as a consultant in
Boston and New York during Bratton’s tenures in those cities,” the LA Times reported at the time.

Berkow’s career at the LAPD ended badly with allegations against him of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed in May 2006 by Sgt. Ya-May Christie who eventually won a $1 million judgment against the city..

He took the Savannah job in October 2006 and two months later CBS2 reported:he was under investigation for allegedly giving favorable treatment and
even promotions to female officers in exchange for sexual favors.

Bratton confirmed the investigation was being conducted but called
Berkow “an outstanding police officer, hardworking, dedicated.”

According to the lawsuit, Berkow’s office in the Bradbury Building had
an air mattress inside and Christle saw several female officers leave
there, followed by Berkow wearing a T-shirt and pajamas.

After
one female officer who was trained by Christle had sex with Berkow, she
was given a pay raise and a coveted position that made her Christle’s
boss, the lawsuit states.Berkow also had sexual affairs with
a female sergeant and a female captain, also rewarding them with
enhanced or extended positions within the department.

The
suit claims that Berkow told Christle to stop
pursuing the most serious internal charges against yet another female
officer who was arrested along with her husband for making criminal
threats, resisting arrest and providing false information to a police
officer.

Both Bratton and Berkow are leaving their posts this month. Bratton will be based in New York, Berkow in LA.




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24 Responses to Bratton and the Conflict of Interest Issue: The Berkow Connection

  1. Anonymous says:

    With everything else going on, you and Jill Stewart just have it in for Bratton, can’t let him leave on a high note, can you? Any more than Bitter Bernie Parks, “We never intended the trash fees for cops” Smith, his new sidekick Koretz, Jan Perry — all of whom make themselves look petty in the process. Sorry, but this attempt to smear him by innuendo related to an associate just comes off as scraping the barrel to “find” something, more typical of his partisan rightwing detractors.

  2. El Quixotian says:

    That’s right Ron, we should be thanking the Chief for coaxing that horndog out of Public Service and ridding Savannah’s streets of him…exiling him back to a place where his alleged behavior won’t stand out so much.

  3. Charlie Baker says:

    If there is reason to believe that someone violated State ethics laws, are we supposed to remain silent and look the other way? Especially the Police Chief of the second largest City in the Nation. If there are any questions about Chief Bratton’s actions or conduct, shouldn’t this be investigated?
    As a public official who operates under rules and laws, both the press and the public have a right to investigate questionable actions.
    I hope that he is cleared, but I don’t want to silence anyone bringing up important issues.

  4. Monica says:

    You gotta be kidding Ron you just called Bratton a hero that was leaving town a couple of days ago now this crap. Kinda of hypocritical if you ask me and many others. Are you too sinking to a new low like that other blog everyone is saying to boycott? Chief Bratton has made remarkable accomplishments for LAPD. As someone wrote “he did more for race relations with LAPD and the black community then the two previous black Chief’s.” Ron, take the high road and at least give him credit where it is due. The LA Times poll and the Harvard Study both credit the department being successful. Why are you posting the crap out of city hall and your buddy Bitter Bernie, Smith, Koretz, Zine all who want to dismantle and destroy 7 years of great work by Bratton? You’re taking this blog to another low point. I expect this crap from other papers and thought left the sleazy writing to them. This was already coverd and guess what? Nobody CARED!!!!

  5. Action Jackson says:

    Look folks, whether or not you like Bratton, or anyone else for that matter, the info that generated this story makes it clear that my good friend, Bill Bratton, LIED!
    I don’t like it, but in the LAPD, making “false or misleading statements” is an offense that gets you FIRED! So what if he has already resigned. He is still on the job, he has lied while ON THE JOB, so he is toast.
    The real question is do members of the city council have the balls to put Bratton in the toaster.
    Secondly, this LIE could somehow be connected to a FEDERAL OFFENSE because there was a FEDERAL CONSENT DECREE in place and if memory and news articles serve me correctly, the decree ended in JUNE, and both Bratton and Cherkasky vehemently denied any discussions about the New York job until AFTER the decree was ended.
    A conspiracy? Could be.
    Now, as to Mike Barlow and the allegation by Anonymous above that this story is an “attempt to smear him (Bratton) by innuendo related to an associate” shows the author is speaking out of his backside.
    The facts are, and they have been recounted numerous times in the open media, that Berkow is a not only a long-time pal of Bratton’s but for the first time in the LAPD’s history, the Chief, in this case Bratton, brought a total LAPD stranger and outsider, Berkow (who was chief of Irvine at the time) and GAVE HIM and LAPD deputy chief job and badge.
    Then, and there is public record on this all over the place, Berkow gets put in charge of Internal Affairs (and changes the name to PSB, Professional Standards Bureau) and then proceeds to have sex with some of his underlings (not to be confused with the ladies shedding their undies).
    Berkow and the LAPD get sued a couple of times; the city wins won and loses another, COSTING THE TAXPAYERS MONEY! Berkow, obviously in trouble, bails to Savannah, GA before he can get fired here, and the poor schmucks in George knew NOTHING about his escapades.
    Berkow’s time there was always tenuous. So now, Big Brother Bratton comes along and offers his BFF Berkow a job with the same group of conspirators who SCREWED the taxpayers on the consent decree dismissal.
    I’m pissed, the Black and Latino communities should be pissed, and the wealthy whites who most likely paid most of the taxes that were wasted here should be so pissed they turn red!
    THESE ARE THE FACTS anonymous. You certainly entitled to continue to kiss my good friend Bill Bratton’s ass since you are obviously pimping for him. But you will have ass on your breath!
    I pimp for no one but me and the taxpayers that are sick and tired of getting screwed over! By the way, Bratton is pushing two of his buddies in the department for chief. One is his friend of 28 years from their Boston Days, Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell. They met when Jim was a college police intern and Bratton was chief of the Boston Transit cops. I suspect McDonnell is Mr. Anonymous in the above response, but all this would suggest I am an insider and have access to all this info. Hmmmm! Maybe, maybe not.
    The other guy Bratton is QUIETLY pimping is Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, whose old man was a deputy chief and who has a reputation like Bratton’s in the opposite sex department.
    No woman or minority stands a chance when Bratton has any say. That’s proven in his history. Ask Sergio Diaz how he got promoted and if he tells you the truth, he’ll say it was right after the May Day Melee and Bratton was meeting with angry Latino leaders. Diaz was in the room, and Bratton, ever so slick, said, “That’s why Sergio Diaz is my new deputy chief for Central Bureau”.
    Bratton had Diaz call his family in IMMEDIATELY and Bratton said, “You’re the Latino I have to promote to this job.” Obviously Bratton has no idea that promoting a Cuban to work with Mexicans and Central Americans is a tough sell, but hey, my BFF Bill dopes what the hell he wants.
    And in the case of Berkow, Cherkasky, the federal consent decree, Bratton apparently not being honest about when he decided on the job and sold out L.A. taxpayers, I say, “Hey, NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW! Not even Bill Bratton.”

  6. Robert says:

    Action Jackson thank god you are not my friend. You call this backstabbing bs you’re posting from a friend???? Haven’t you ever heard the term its time to MOVE ON? You sound like a tabloid journalist and don’t know shit. This story was covered in the LA Times and other papers. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Sure seems to be a diversion from everything else going on in the city like the huge budget deficit and WHERE IS THE TRASH FEE MONEY OF OVER $274 MILLION going? How much has been transferred into the GENERAL FUND. Why aren’t the stories of corruption inside city hall being posted here. The corruption within DWP and why no one is talking about it??

  7. Anonymous says:

    To Monica or Robert or yet another name you choose. You have lowered the standards of this site and other blogs you post on with your rampant, sleazy, outrageous, blatant lies about honest, decent people. Can you crawl back into the hole you came from, and leave us all in peace.
    Truthsayer, if you know who this evil is, please out her, so we can be rid of her forever. You will be doing a public service.

  8. Monica says:

    I can see this blog is turning into the other one we were all asked to boycott because of personal attacks on friends. I pointed out to Ron he posted a positive story one day now a negative one. You have no idea what LAPD was back in 2002 and the difference now. I can site you a lot of stories especially in Southeast area where crime in homicides is way down because of good police work. Ron and I were just talking today about how people who are vocal on issues and actually try and help communities always seem to get personally attacked and this is a perfect example of it. Another blog did this to a good friend yesterday. This is the reason why so many people who want to be vocal on issues and help communities don’t. Because its people who post nasty, negative personal attacks that prevent them from doing so. You should read your Proverbs 3.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “As he packs up and prepares to leave town a hero — his name to be emblazoned on the new Police Headquarters building — Chief Bill Bratton only needed 12 seconds to drive the stake of truth into the heart of what’s wrong with City Hall”
    There is a big difference in pointing out the Bratton is “preparing to leave town as a hero” and calling him ” a hero that was leaving town”….
    Perhaps a bit of begrudged kudos for pointing out the hypocracy of the Mayor and the City Council, but one doesn’t have to go far to find it dripping in irony.
    Now, while the non-anonymous persona’s playing out above are lowering the level of discourse, at least we can fill in the scorecard.
    And heightened is our curiousity, for what may or may not be inside info, but certainly for the issue which remains newsworthy.
    And THAT is the selection process for the new chief. And so its interesting to see the philosophical difference between a Civil Service insider versus the straw man of a FOB – surely not all outsiders are Bratton’s protégés?
    By all means, voice your opinion, on this AND the DWP GM job. And not just in the blogosphere, but wherever the processes’ visibility permits.
    Ron believes in a fair amount of “Political Theater”, and we all have our roles, but wouldn’t it make more sense, for the earnest readers out there, to keep it civil?

  10. El Quixotian says:

    “As he packs up and prepares to leave town a hero — his name to be emblazoned on the new Police Headquarters building — Chief Bill Bratton only needed 12 seconds to drive the stake of truth into the heart of what’s wrong with City Hall”
    There is a big difference in pointing out the Bratton is “preparing to leave town as a hero” and calling him ” a hero that was leaving town”….
    Perhaps a bit of begrudged kudos for pointing out the hypocracy of the Mayor and the City Council, but one doesn’t have to go far to find it dripping in irony.
    Now, while the non-anonymous persona’s playing out above are lowering the level of discourse, at least we can fill in the scorecard.
    And heightened is our curiousity, for what may or may not be inside info, but certainly for the issue which remains newsworthy.
    And THAT is the selection process for the new chief. And so its interesting to see the philosophical difference between a Civil Service insider versus the straw man of a FOB – surely not all outsiders are Bratton’s protégés?
    By all means, voice your opinion, on this AND the DWP GM job. And not just in the blogosphere, but wherever the processes’ visibility permits.
    Ron believes in a fair amount of “Political Theater”, and we all have our roles, but wouldn’t it make more sense, for the earnest readers out there, to keep it civil?

  11. Anonymous says:

    “I can see this blog is turning into the other one we were all asked to boycott because of personal attacks on friends”. Who is that “we” and which is that “blog”, and who asked us to “boycott” it, and who is making those “personal attacks” and whose “friends”?
    Care to clarify yourself, cause you are the only guttersnipe on all the blogs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Ron and I were just talking today about how people who are vocal on issues and actually try and help communities always seem to get personally attacked and this is a perfect example of it”.
    Hard to believe that Ron is your personal friend. Are you trying to bring him down too. You are evil genius.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “Ron and I were just talking today about how people who are vocal on issues and actually try and help communities always seem to get personally attacked and this is a perfect example of it”.
    Hard to believe that Ron is your personal friend. Are you trying to bring him down too. You are evil genius.

  14. I have not posted any comments on this thread until now.
    First of all, regarding the suggestion of a boycott of Mayor Sam, I will take responsibility for that, not that I expect many people will follow.
    My thoughts were not to discourage reading MS, but to stop posting to it.
    Secondly, civility has gone down the tubes in general. It is not just profanity laced comments like you find on MS (just go there today and read for yourself), but it is the absolute intolerance people are showing towards opposing views.
    I have some strong views on a number of issues in this city, but I will never ridicule another person for expressing an opposing point of view (however, I will always block inappropriate language on my blog).
    This thread on Bratton, while clean, still reflects intolerance. OK, we are all entitled to express our emotions. But I hope everyone realizes what this city is becoming- another Balkans dominated by tribal mentality.
    That’s what happens when there is no central leadership -and is this city ever short on that.
    I hope we can all focus on electing officials worthy of our trust. We deserve it.
    Paul Hatfield

  15. El Quixotian says:

    Interesting you mentioned Balkanization Paul.
    Waiting for 4 years for new leadership, or at least 2 for the next CD races, begs the question of whether it will be too late, literally!
    And so, while some think bankruptcy is inevitable, others are thinking secession.
    But with not much dust on tentative maps of the Valley, Hollywood, West LA, and perhaps East LA, is it time to begin thinking about a borough approach?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just out tonight on L A Times Now blog, Phil Willon writes how the “City Attorney threatens with Jail Time in Sign Fight,” referring to interim Building & Safety Head and Jan Perry if they approved any on-site signs for AEG or in Perry’s case, if she just continued to make her case that the ICO passed in August (discussed for some time before, though held for Trutanich’s review at his insistence) didn’t include certain on-site AEG signs which were grandfathered in.
    On top of the video posted on L A CityWatch with the tag about City Attorney Bullying a Constituent over the Medical Pot issue, THE MELTDOWN CONTINUES. The Nuchies are going to have a harder time spinning themselves out of these indisputable cases of bullying and misuse of power. Major anger management and incompetence issues. NO comment or thread on that HERE, though, is there, or on OurLA.org.

  17. El Quixotian. I am also a fan of the Man of La Mancha. I do not mind jousting with windmills.
    In the absence of secession, which would be the true Quixotic quest, I favor the bourough concept.
    Los Angeles is just to vast to manage as fifteen feifdoms. Boroughs would at least create cohesive regional entities that would make compromise easier and allow NCs to have a closer relationship with City Hall.
    The other alternative would be to go to the opposite extreme and increase the City Council to say 30 members (at half the pay). That too would ensure a closer working relationship between the members and City Hall. It might also dilute the influence of partisan politics, unions and developers, but it would also further fragment the city.
    I would like to hear more about these alternatives. Unfortunately, we will be on the verge of bankruptcy before too long, even with an uptick in the market.
    Paul Hatfield

  18. Your jotting style is interesting and left me wishing for much more.

  19. I don’t get the point of this :S ???

  20. Sometimes persons are layered this way. There’s some thing totally different underneath than what’s on the outside. However at times, there’s another, possibly deeper level, and the one is exactly like the very best surface one.

  21. Hope this Bratton and the conflict of interest issue will be resolved.

  22. It is so good so that it is hardly possible to stop reading and start doing something else.

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