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A Bayside sheriff has been fired from his job after he was accused of providing armed security for two western Queens strip clubs at a time when he was supposed to be on paid sick leave, a city agency said this week.
Sgt. Jefferson Rodriguez, 47, is alleged to have engaged in unauthorized employment outside his job as a deputy sheriff, submitting false reports and making false statements, according to a ruling by the city Administrative Trials and Hearings Office.
Rodriguez, who lives in Bayside, had been on paid sick leave between October 2008 and June 2009, collecting his annual salary of $83,241, to recover from a car accident. He had provided medical notices to take the leave.
But he was found to have been providing security through his private firm, Apollo Security, at two strip clubs — Long Island City’s Cityscape and Woodside’s Club Perfection, court papers alleged.
The sheriff, who was fired in March, was armed while providing security at the clubs, court papers said.
Rodriguez, who had worked in all five boroughs as a city sheriff, was questioned by city officials after they received an anonymous tip on his alleged outside income.
He claimed the charges were retaliation for his involvement in a 2008 federal employment discrimination suit that the city settled for $500,000, according to court papers.
Rodriguez’s attorney, Kerry Katsorhis, said his client was not employed at the Queens clubs.
“He didn’t work there, he just attended the places,” he said. “Both men and women go to places like this.”
Katsorhis said the defendant was considering a lawsuit against the city after he was arrested for trespassing when he showed up at work in March. Rodriguez also has a claim pending that he sustained injuries while working at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, his attorney said.
He had previously requested permission from the city to earn an outside income through working as a cab driver in November 2007, but he had never asked for approval to be a security guard, according to testimony from city Finance Department Director Joyce Lippman.
Leonard Mastrogiacomo, a detective assigned to the city’s Investigation Department, followed Rodriguez from his Bayside home to the Woodside club in February 2009, court papers said. On another occasion, the detective is alleged to have spotted the defendant’s car outside the club.
On April 15, 2009, the detective approached Rodriguez at Cityscape, identified himself and told him he was investigating a gun incident at the strip club. Rodriguez allegedly told the detective, “I have the security contract. I’m the supervisor, I have my guys. I do security here,” according to court papers.
Rodriguez was found to have a $1,500 contract with Cityscape as well as serving as a shareholder and the president of Apollo Security, court papers said.
Cityscape’s former owner testified that Rodriguez was a patron, not an employee, of the club.
In his ruling, Administrative Law Judge Kevin Casey wrote Rodriguez in his role as sheriff had received awards for perfect attendance and had “a good reputation for honesty.”
But he ruled that the defendant had participated in “deliberate and repeated fraud” and recommended that Rodriguez be fired. He wrote that his “misconduct is particularly egregious because he is a sergeant in the sheriff’s division and responsible for enforcing the law.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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