Ray Kelly's Publicity Piggy Bank: The Police Foundation

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In what is a fairly shocking disclosure, Leonard Levitt's NYPD Confidential reports today that the Police Foundation has spent $400,000 on a publicist who spent most of his time flacking for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and introducing him to celebrities and rich folks and get onto that red carpet.

That disclosure comes on the heels of the report that the foundation also pays Kelly's dues at the tony Harvard Club and picks up the tab for his meals there. Kelly has said through a spokesman that he conducts police business only at the club, but his guests have included newspaper editors, top public relations executives and even a police historian, Levitt reports.

The Police Foundation publicist Hamilton South gets $100,000 a year to do his job, but he's really working for Kelly, Levitt reports, in part helping him raise his profile for a run at the mayor's office.

As Levitt points out, the Police Foundation was founded to buy equipment and fund programs for the NYPD; not to act as the commissioner's secret bank account. Kelly hasn't reported these gifts on his city financial disclosure forms, nor has he said who exactly he entertained at the club.

South, Levitt reports, got favorable press coverage for Kelly, and introduced him to such luminaries as Barry Diller and Ivanka Trump.

Levitt says that Kelly didn't report the foundation benefits because he "doesn't report anything to anybody." Mayor Bloomberg "has allowed the NYPD under Kelly to become more closed to the public than at any other time in at least the past 30 years," Levitt writes.

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