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Bloomberg slams 9/11 ruling

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would challenge a Queens Supreme Court judge’s ruling to allow Little Neck Capt. James Corrigan to be listed alongside his fellow firefighters, with whom he died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, at a Ground Zero memorial.

During a press conference last week, the mayor said the city would attempt to prevent Corrigan’s name from being listed on a memorial scheduled to open at Ground Zero next year during the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We’ll fight this in court,” Bloomberg said. “The Fire Department has a reasonable decision they made a long time ago. You had to have been an on-duty fireman, an active firefighter or officer to be included.”

At the time of his death, Corrigan, 60, was retired. The Little Neck resident had joined the FDNY in 1969, serving in Little Italy, Brooklyn and the Financial District in Manhattan before transferring in 1992 to Bayside’s Engine Co. 320.

After retiring, Corrigan was employed by Silverstein Properties and became the fire and life safety coordinator at the World Trade Center.

Marie Corrigan, the firefighter’s widow, filed a suit in April against the city Fire Department and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum of the World Trade Center Foundation. The FDNY had refused to place her husband’s name with other firefighters’ names on memorials because he was not recognized as being on active duty at the time of the attacks.

Marie Corrigan’s suit contended that state law reinstated him to active duty Sept. 11.

Late last month, Queens Supreme Court Judge Augustus Agate ruled in her favor.

“While the court hesitates to become embroiled in the internal decisions of the FDNY regarding a matter of such a sensitive nature, there is simply no rational basis for the FDNY’s position herein given the circumstances of Captain Corrigan’s death,” the judge’s ruling read.

R.J. DeRose, Corrigan’s attorney, said the FDNY’s decision to not include Corrigan as a firefighter on the memorial was “not reasonable.”

“It is regrettable that the city refuses to properly honor the memory of Capt. Corrigan and continues to force his widow to fight for the recognition that the Legislature and the court determined he is due,” DeRose said. “We urge Mayor Bloomberg and the heads of the FDNY to give Capt. Corrigan the honor he is due as a hero who gave his life for the city, rather than insisting that they do not need to follow the law of New York state, the decision of the New York courts and what is morally correct.”

FDNY spokesman Steve Ritea said the department was looking over Agate’s ruling.

Corrigan’s two sons, Brendan and Sean, were given “legacy credits” on their entrance exams to the FDNY, DeRose said. The credits bump up the score of any test-taker whose parents were killed in the line of active duty.

In 2002, former City Councilman Tony Avella drafted a resolution that called on the city to grant full active-duty status to Corrigan as well as William Wren and Phillip Hayes, both of whom had also died on Sept. 11. The state Legislature later voted to grant all duties and honors as active duty members to all three men.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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