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Jun 9, 2010 1:58 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Officer makes charges of favoritism in Westhampton Beach PBA

Jun 9, 2010 1:58 PM

Westhampton Beach Police Officer Steven McManus, whose missing handgun sparked a Suffolk County Police investigation last year, said this week that there is favoritism in the village’s police union—and he is on the wrong side of the divide.

Officer McManus said this week that he asked the Westhampton Beach Police Benevolent Association in January for money to hire an attorney in connection with a legal challenge related to the probe. He is charging that Westhampton Beach Village Board members violated his rights as an employee in statements made to police officials during last year’s investigation, which was conducted by the Suffolk County Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau.

But he said the PBA has refused to pay for his legal counsel—although the union has agreed to pay for attorneys for the two police officers accused in the same case.

In a January 4, 2010, letter addressed to Westhampton Beach PBA President Jeff Speer, Officer McManus asked for money to hire an attorney who “would be for representation in actions against me by the Board of Trustees of Westhampton Beach.”

In an undated letter, Officer Speer responded that Officer McManus had to provide specific details of actions taken by the Village Board before any money could be released to hire a lawyer. In the same document, Officer Speer explained that the information he requested from Officer McManus would then be forwarded to the PBA’s Executive Board so it could determine whether or not “this is in fact a PBA issue.”

In an e-mail sent Wednesday morning, Officer Speer wrote that Officer McManus “refused” to provide the PBA with the requested information.

“I as PBA President do not make a decision as to who does or doesn’t get PBA representation, nor does the WHB PBA board,” he wrote. “This goes to our membership directly.

“Officer McManus did make a request at an open meeting, and after discussion with our members, he dropped his request, never asking this to be brought to a vote,” Officer Speer continued.

Officer McManus said he wasn’t comfortable putting his request in writing. He also questioned why he had to do so, since three other officers, each of whom recently received $5,000 from the PBA for legal fees, did not have to put their requests in writing.

A month after Officer McManus’s personal handgun went missing from his locker at police headquarters in March 2009, Village Board members Hank Tucker, Joan Levan, Toni-Jo Birk and Jim Kametler met with county investigators. They said they were concerned that Officer McManus was a “favorite” of Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean, and they questioned the validity of Officer McManus’s version of events, according to a copy of the report.

The same report concluded that Westhampton Beach Police Officer Michael Bruetsch somehow “came into possession” of Officer McManus’s privately owned weapon—a Taurus .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun—that was later found by his wife in his car. The report also states that Officer Bruetsch, who has had past conflicts with Officer McManus, “subsequently put the gun into [Officer] McManus’s vehicle.”

Officer Bruetsch was charged with lying and conduct unbecoming of an officer, while the second officer, Joseph Pesapane, was charged with lying to superior officers regarding the same incident. Both were suspended by Mayor Conrad Teller in October and called back to work in December by the majority of the board, but have been kept on restrictive duty. Mayor Teller has been trying to move forward with disciplinary hearings for the officers, though his attempts have been stonewalled by other board members.

The PBA agreed in October to give $5,000 each to Officers Bruetsch and Pesapane so they could hire an attorney, according to Officer McManus. In his undated letter to Officer McManus, Officer Speer wrote: “The financing furnished to Officers Bruetsch and Pesapane was voted on at a PBA meeting, after they were suspended, with charges pending.”

Officer Speer did not immediately answer a question asking how much money was awarded to the two officers.

Officer McManus contends that the money was awarded before the report was released and the charges leveled, suggesting that PBA officials did not yet know why they were backing the two officers.

Joseph Ferrante, a lawyer with Keahon, Fleischer, Duncan and Ferrante in Hauppauge who is representing Officers Bruetsch and Pesapane, said he wasn’t sure if his clients put their requests in writing. He added that it did not seem necessary since they were already charged.

Westhampton Beach Detective Stephen Cunneen, who was served with disciplinary charges in late April after he allegedly failed to produce medical records, also was given $5,000 by the PBA for legal fees, Officer McManus said. It is not clear if Det. Cunneen put his request in writing. He did not return calls seeking comment.

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Well here we go AGAIN
So tell me why we need this police force? They are the joke of Suffolk
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 10, 10 2:04 PM
So..The vice-President of the union (Bruetsch) takes Mcmanus' gun and then puts it in his car. Then gets caught lying to investigators and is charged, but gets himself and his other buddy who lied $5,000.00 each from the PBA to represent them for LYING, but Mcmanus has to provide in writing why he wants an attorney to the Excutive board that Bruetsch is on.
We didn't have a hearing on this why? Oh thats right Bruetschs friend Tucker wants more information . Ok I see now!. The more facts that ...more
By The Truth (15), Westhampton on Jun 10, 10 3:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well if anyone was at the high school the other night Teller said he paid Dean over $20,000.00 without board knowing because "he" felt Dean was due the money. Dean could have gotten rid of "Jim the Gun' but no he gave him the option to retire and "Jim the Gun" Kametler a/k/a the town bully has some nerve to talk to Suffolk investigators since he should have been investigated years ago..Now we have 2 lieing cops and who gets the short end the honest guy. Nothing new here!!! All these CROOKS do is ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 10, 10 10:22 PM
"Joseph Ferrante, a lawyer with Keahon, Fleischer, Duncan and Ferrante in Hauppauge who is representing Officers Bruetsch and Pesapane, said he wasn’t sure if his clients put their requests in writing.."

In other words, they hadn't.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 10, 10 4:55 PM
"Many of his fellow officers considered him the most dangerous man alive - An honest cop".
By Centurion (1), Burg on Jun 10, 10 7:16 PM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By mousehouse1 (6), westhampton on Jun 12, 10 5:13 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By The Truth (15), Westhampton on Jun 12, 10 11:28 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By nunya (7), manorville on Jun 13, 10 1:18 PM
It’s truly amazing to finally here some truth come out to the surface. It’s also wonderful to know how this place you would call a police department has so many deceitful individuals such as officer Bruetsch and Pesapane. What Steve is saying is true, and there is definitely more to come. The truth always comes out … right mike?? Btw if you decide to go to Rogers beach this summer heads up, you should cover up! A certain someone is always watching.
By the untold (1), WHB on Jun 10, 10 7:40 PM
Lets not forget "Cunneen" who is all so milking us and when he gets hit with charges the other rotten cops make sure he is covered too.
Lets not forget Tellers words "once the police force is gone we can not get them back.".....WHO CARES if they ever come back.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 10, 10 10:45 PM
We should heed the words of Jacqueline Sprotte at a village meeting: It's NICE to have a quick response in an emergency. Trustee (and would- be mayor-ugh!) Tucker, Levan, and Kametler have tied the investigation in knots for nine months now -hoping to exonerate the Tucker Cheesecake Three! Me, I don't WANT that to happen without a FAIR hearing, which has been denied the officers, despite Mayor Teller and Trustee Birk's steadfast adherence to the law.
That if we relinquish our Po-Po, that there ...more
By Jean (79), whb on Jun 11, 10 1:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
You have got to be kidding.You want row B to restore law,dignity.What have they been doing....NOTHING
Tell me one thing that they have or what major crime the police department has solved. We are not in the frying pan as you say we are already in the fire.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 11, 10 11:28 AM
Westhampton Beach Police Officer Steven McManus’s problem isn’t that he’s a good cop in a bad department… it’s that he can’t get along with anyone, anywhere and should never have been permitted to be a cop! That’s why he was dumped on to the Drug Taskforce to begin with… the mistake was bringing him back! The PBA should provide funds or a psych evaluation not a lawyer. I’ve heard “Jean” use that 1776 quip before… I understand the point she thinks she’s making, but remember in 1776 Jean would not ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Jun 11, 10 8:07 AM
2 members liked this comment
Wow! Don't hold anything back, now, Resident.

But two little things:

A] Wasn't that "Bob Strebel broke Civil Service Law by appointing Ray Dean" thing discredited a long time ago when the WHPBA attorney, now the Suffolk DA, raised it formally, and CSEA informed the PBA that all procedures were properly followed? That was ten years ago, I think.

B] Exactly what is or was "Bob Strebel’s relationship to (Ray) Dean" which has never been disclosed? You're not suggesting anything ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 11, 10 10:39 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By nunya (7), manorville on Jun 13, 10 1:20 PM
Nunya - it's you're an idiot or you are an idiot.
Your an idiot just lacks teeth.

By double standard (1506), quogue on Jun 14, 10 11:27 AM
Whoa, Momma.
Who was the "good cop" who retired?
From what I hear many cops with dirty laundry were retired, in lieu of being fired, saving the taxpayers thousands if not millions of dollars- cleared from the ranks under the supervision of Chief Dean-- he brought the department an improved police presence; that is, until the Trustees got to meddling for their personal friends. We didn't elect them to do that.

Further, it seems to me that you don't end up on a Drug Task Force ...more
By Jean (79), whb on Jun 11, 10 11:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
The only thing you say is remember the janitor drug arrest.
What about
The hiding cops
The lieing cops
The mis-use of power
The cop owned bar busted for selling drugs by the Suffolk PD
The armed robbery at the Post Stop and the first police car to show up was a SOUTHMPTON police car.
The other crime that went on that same fall
The problem we just had at the steak house
What crime was EVER SOLVE........ NONE
You say that the salarys are ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 11, 10 11:39 AM
The Board --NO, actually the three Trustees, Tucker, Levan, and Kametler , who LEFT THE BUILDING with a scheduled meeting, are the ones who need replacing!Not to mention the hiding, lying cops they are trying to protect.
THAT behavior of Trustees has NEVER occurred in the history of the Village.
They abrogated their duties, rather than shamefacedly show their countenance in public.
What ARROGANCE AND DISRESPECT to the community.

Ya wanna see REAL change? Seize back the government ...more
By Jean (79), whb on Jun 11, 10 4:41 PM
Jean, Jean… Your knowledge of the Village Police in the late 90’s is at best, I’m certain, second hand from the Village Crank.(his new position endorsed by Conrad Teller) The condition of this Police Department has not changed significantly in decades. You most certainly DO end up on the Drug Taskforce if you are problematic to your department, they’ll stick you any where to get rid of you, just the way Sergeant Ray Dean ended his Southampton Police career in the basement doing filing before the ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Jun 11, 10 4:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
resident;go to village hall ask for the record of the chief,then go to shtpd and ask for same,I challenge you to compare it to all your friends on the whbpd who are feeding you with misinformation.A sk Tucker why he allows these cops to go to his place of business,outside village limits,while on duty,to whine to him......you're comments are inapproprite,as they are dishonest.....and for your info Steve was not thrown off the drug task force....please try to keep your comments based on facts not ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 11, 10 5:35 PM
Thanks Curious.
I've lived here since the 70's, so I think I knew what was happening in the late 90's. BTW, who is the Village Crank?
Resident, you sound bitter and as if you are trying to discredit some mighty fine members of the police force and the community.
Mayor Teller started and will end his career eventually with the solid training of the United States Marine Corp. He is a pillar of this community.
ANY officer of the peace who works in drug enforcement has MY profound respect, ...more
By Jean (79), whb on Jun 11, 10 11:10 PM
Yes Mr. Teller should be applauded for his servive in the USMC.
Jean it is about now.... a totally disfunctional force led by sommeone completely devoid of any ability to lead. With a Mayor enjoying THREE pensions and an ego that has grown bigger than the boarders of the village. Let us just take a step back and look at this Village from the outside....... The joke of Suffolk.
So Sad
By bobba (39), southampton on Jun 12, 10 4:47 PM
Not sure who is a bigger Joke........the WHB Cops or the childish politicos posting comments. No wonder WHB has such a bad reputation, do you folks ever get along? Or is it all about the hate?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 12, 10 5:55 AM
Hey resident, if what you ate saying is true about only getting put in the drug task force if you are a problem, that must mean that Nick fusco and bob nordman are problems as well. Because that both served with the task force. Maybe you are just upset that you weren't given the opportunity to go because they knew you couldn't be trusted near the evidence. Sniff Sniff buddy!
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jun 12, 10 8:32 AM
I would assume that D.A Spota would disagree that HE runs a dumping ground for bad cops. Wasn't it the East End Task Force that was just in the news for busting up a major Heroin Ring. So the D.A allows bad cops to make big drug busts. Not a smart thing to say there "resident", but, you have never been about getting the facts out there, just visions from your delusional world.
Its posts like yours that only give credibility to the things Mcmanus is saying maybe its you who needs the pysch exam.
By The Truth (15), Westhampton on Jun 12, 10 12:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are all sad people...... Very sad. Bring in the Town Police and bring in Spota. Enough of the Dean Family rule.
By bobba (39), southampton on Jun 12, 10 4:51 PM
Spota, the former WHB PBA attorney, won't go anywhere near that Village.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 13, 10 1:31 AM
Shame we just can not vote to get rid of the board and the poice force
They are both a joke
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 12, 10 6:39 PM
such a shame that 2 cops who were trained by the same academy STILL don't get it.......why not get rid of the bad eggs who are causing all the problems....they got caught lying...why are they still there????? Hopefully ALL the residents will vote for the right people cause if they don't........You think you have problems now??
By nunya (7), manorville on Jun 13, 10 1:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
oh yeah and by the way all you people who forget what it is the cops do, while your sitting at your table on Christmas,thanksgiving easter passover or whatever holiday it may be,,,they are out saving people, breaking up your disfunctional family fights, keeping your kids safe from your grandma the drunk who thinks its ok to drive cause she's old as they take time away from there own kids and family to deal with your garbage !!!!!!
By nunya (7), manorville on Jun 13, 10 1:25 PM
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 12:32 PM
Teller and Dean should be thanked for doing as best as the can under difficult circumstances. Teller deserves re election and Dean deserves a new contract ASAP.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 13, 10 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
"East End68"
Tell me one thing they have done!!!
The police force and board do NOTHING
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 12:34 PM
I forgot Teller gave Dean over $20,000.00 with out the board approval
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 12:35 PM
That has proven to be a false allegation. It was a lie a year ago, and it is a lie today -- not that you would care.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 16, 10 3:41 PM
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 10 8:26 PM
“What can I do? They told me no,” he said. “I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer.”

Well that's sad. It's such a shame that this even happened in the first place. Really just brings out how corrupt all this shit really is.
By fojoxctf (13), Westhampton on Jun 13, 10 6:57 PM
"I don't have money to hire a lawyer" ??? What's his salary? I'd imagine he makes about $100,000 per annum.
By Quoguer (8), Quogue on Jul 24, 10 7:01 AM
Look Newday 6-13-2010
Tucker wants Dean to immediatelt resolve the matter with the polce officers bu droppingmany charges against the two men. Strange Tucker did not have the guts to say that at the high school the other night. Drop the charges...what a joke.They have to go
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 14, 10 9:45 AM
What McManus is referring to is this story is a Unions Duty of Fair Representation (DFR). A DFR charge must originate in Supreme Court or the New York State Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) each have concurrent jurisdiction. This means Officer McManus has only 4 Months to File and (IP) Improper Practice Charge against his Union which conjoins the Village of Westhampton. File NOW to toll the statute of limitations set by PERB and negotiate later. You may not enlarge this 4 month statute ...more
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jun 15, 10 6:45 PM
Just recived a letter from the PBA of Westhampton Beach in the mail and the first line is great...With Patience We Can Move Foward...are you NUTS
Than it goes into to speak of what happened in March of 2009 and says that after Dean looked into the matter, the officers suspicions remained unfounded,However,instead of that being the end of it,the matter was referred to the Suffolk Internal Affairs Bureau(IAB)
Than goes on to state that the IAB issued its own report dated October14th and ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 11:29 AM
Recived 2 more letters
First from Hank Tucker and it states:
As your Mayor I WILL
1. Clean up the police department with a thorough and extensive review of all personnel,procedures and operations while ensuring full accountability and fair treatment for all.
2. Gaurantee our govermant is professional and dignified
3.Fill the void of leadership with honesty and integrity
Well Hank how are you going to do this when:
The 2 cops cought lieing to the Suffolk IAB ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 2:55 PM
Your version is that you have no choices in this election, that one is as bad as the other.

What is your REALISTIC solution?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 16, 10 3:45 PM
Yes Frank one is as bad as the other.
The meeting at the High School was a joke as always everyone placed blame on the other and brought up things that had no meaning at all. The only persoan who talked with any brains was Charlie Palmer and if he is elected with what goes on here nothing will change because of the buddy system.
The board and the police force have turned this town into a joke. The buddy system is out of controll in Westhampton Beach and you and everyone else knows it.The ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 16, 10 8:52 PM
Officer Cunneen was hurt doing his job and has always had a great reputation inside and outside his department. And is respected by adjoing police departments. Just because that depatment is a disaster don't thrpow evetyone in the pile. It is no coinsidence that the department has gone down hill since the hiring of dean. And as far as the Mcmannus gun situation, could have been handled internally and is not what it has been made to be. Chief Dean inexperience as a leader really came to light not ...more
By rocky (79), shampton on Jun 16, 10 11:48 PM
"rocky' Since you are so close to Cunneen maybe you can tell us why he did not hand in the paper work from the doctor like he should have??? What are you another BUDDY IN BLUE??? As far as "great" reputation PLEASE give us a break
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 10 11:14 AM
Officer Pesapane is a dedicated law enforcement officer for many years. I knew him from when he started with brookhaven town public safety. Something is missing to this story. He is an honest guy who was actually very dedicated to his position, more than most people i know at thier jobs. I cant stand see people making these comments when they have no idea what is actually going on and the actual character of these police officers
By whbdoc (1), manorville on Dec 28, 10 3:27 PM