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ALBANY — The cell phone of the former president of the New York State Police Benevolent Association was seized last week when the state police’s Special Investigations Unit raided the union’s Albany headquarters and the office of a related charity.

Two people briefed on the matter said state police investigators also copied computer hard drives when they removed boxes of records from PBA offices over a two-day period beginning Tuesday. During the raids, first reported by the Times Union, investigators at the state police academy seized former PBA president Thomas H. Munger’s cell phone, where he was after resigning from his union position in late October. sources.

The raid by the union representing several thousand state troopers followed allegations of widespread policy violations, including undisclosed conflicts of interest and questionable financial and hiring practices.

The state police investigation is being led by members of the Financial Crimes Unit, which is looking into the spending, expenses and reimbursements of numerous current and former PBA officials. Two people briefed on the investigation said it has intensified in recent weeks and has focused on countless bank accounts, credit cards and other financial matters, including transactions and expenses dating back years.

It follows a recent rebellion among the PBA board of directors, which was led by a coalition of Western New York military personnel. They began looking into the union’s finances about a year before the new treasurer, Charles W. After the installation of Murphy, who had begun to examine the costing practices of the organization. Among those findings was that PBA had a long-term contract with Epic Risk Solutions, a small brokerage firm in Goshen, Orange County, founded and operated by Michael S. By Klugman, whose company specializes in providing extended coverage plans for various state trooper associations, including the New York Troopers PBA;

Mungeer and Richard E. Mulvaney, who was the PBA’s longtime general counsel and a former NYPD lieutenant, both hold state-issued insurance licenses and their credentials list the address of Epic Risk Solutions, and In Munger’s case, business email. In an interview with the Times Union last year, Klugman told the Times Union that neither Munger nor Mulvaney received compensation from his company.

But on Nov. 18, the PBA board issued a bulletin to its member soldiers explaining their earlier decision to cut ties with the Orange County insurance company. In addition to citing the company’s connection between Mulvaney and Mungeer, they wrote that Klugman “confirmed that Richard Mulvaney has a financial interest in the company. These licenses and associations and financial interests with Epic Risk Solutions have not been disclosed to the board. “

Mulvaney and Mungeer both resigned from the organization in October and both recently retained criminal defense attorneys. Their departures come weeks after the PBA announced in a newsletter to its members in early November that its board of directors was “continuing to review financial practices and business with vendors.”

Another person of interest to investigators is Gordon Warnock, a retired soldier and longtime PBA official who is listed as executive director of the Signal 30 Benefit Fund, which has raised millions of dollars for charity, according to law enforcement sources. Computer hard drives were also copied to the offices of Signal 30 on Howard Street in Albany, which is behind the PBA headquarters on State Street, one block from the state Capitol, sources said.

Warnock previously served as a union delegate to State Police Troop F and later as second vice president of the PBA. In that capacity, Warnock is a registered lobbyist for the PBA and also oversaw the union’s political action committee, according to PBA sources. He has an office in the headquarters of the Defense Ministry, they said.

Warnock runs a registered lobbying firm, Hudson Strategies Government Relations, which lists an address in Huguenot, Orange County.

Mulvaney’s and Warnock’s compensations are both listed on Signal 30’s 2020 tax returns under the section that lists employees, trustees and directors. Mulvaney’s title is “legal counsel” and his compensation from “related entities” was $229,108. It said he worked about two hours a week at Signal 30 and 40 hours a week at a related entity, believed to be the PBA. Warnock’s annual salary was listed at $79,186. 15 hours per week for signal 30 and 25 hours per week for another organization.

It’s unclear whether last week’s court-authorized searches also targeted the Surgeons Group, which, like the Signal 30 Benefit Fund, is the fundraising arm of the PBA that provides honorary memberships to paid supporters. The Surgeons Group, which has offices with the PBA, has raised millions of dollars for the union by selling “Trooper Surgeon” posters on its official appearance panel, which also have an ID card and a gold badge reading “PBA State Police Surgeon. “

The posters have sparked controversy in Manhattan, where residents say vehicles emblazoned with Trooper Surgeon credentials often violate parking laws but avoid tickets from the NYPD. Current and former troopers interviewed by the Times Union last year said they were instructed to give breaks during traffic stops to drivers with those credentials.

Signal 30 officials, meanwhile, declined to answer detailed questions about their business operations.

“Signal 30 is aware of the investigation and is cooperating with authorities on this matter,” a spokesperson said in a statement last week as the search unfolded. “The Signal 30 Benefit Fund is an independent non-profit organization that does great work to support members of the New York State Police and their families, especially in times of tragic death, illness, injury and bereavement.”

The search warrants were executed last week while Gov. Kathy Hochul was delivering her State of the State address at the nearby Capitol. Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to a question over the weekend about whether the governor was informed of the searches before they took place.

PBA general counsel Daniel Strollo released a statement to the Times Union last week saying the PBA had been cooperating with investigators for “months.”

“The current PBA leadership team is committed to the integrity of the organization and we welcome the Special Investigations Unit’s assistance in uncovering past wrongdoing by individuals who are no longer part of the PBA,” he added.

Mungeer declined to comment after leaving the PBA.

The PBA board voted in early October to create a “Financial Integrity Commission” to review spending and hiring practices. State police sources said concerns about the inflated costs centered on the cost of what were sure to be lavish dinners associated with alcohol and other social outings. The council also eliminated the payment of “leadership stipends,” although it is unclear who received them and how much they were paid.

At the same Oct. 6 meeting, board members proposed changing the union’s constitution to allow a two-thirds majority of the executive board to suspend someone “if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such individual has engaged in conduct prejudicial to the best. interests of the association”. The change appeared to be designed expressly to remove Munger.

After the board voted to schedule a special meeting for Oct. 11 to vote on the change, Munger immediately informed his colleagues that he was “taking a voluntary leave of absence.” A few weeks later, Munger, who had been president of the union since 2009, resigned.

PBA First Vice President Andrew C. Davis took over as acting president after Munger took a leave of absence and remained in the role until a new president was elected.


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