DA Spota says he never spoke with Bellone about Burke

Posted: Updated:

Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota says he never spoke to the county executive about greenlighting the man Steve Bellone wanted to appoint as police chief -- a man who later admitted to assaulting a suspect and covering it up.

As News 12 reported Monday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says he received an anonymous letter in December 2011 warning him not to promote Burke to police chief because he "was known to frequent prostitutes," had his gun stolen and threatened subordinates. Bellone says he directly asked Spota about it.

Spota says that while he never did speak to Bellone about Burke, he did vouch for him in a letter sent to the transition team. Specifically, he says he sent that letter to Kevin Law.

In 2011, Law was heading up the national search for a new Suffolk police commissioner. Now, Law says he does not recall receiving such a letter about Burke and is not sure why he would receive one when he was charged with finding a new commissioner, not police chief.

Spota says he was advocating for Burke for his position as chief of police because he was a longtime friend and served him for 10 years without a problem.

Suffolk Democratic Party chairman Richard Schaffer is among those who have criticized Bellone for not checking Burke's internal affairs or personal file, despite who may or may not have been vouching for him.

Bellone on Wednesday declined a request to comment further.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."