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Puff, police, pass: Police investigating claims that 62nd Precinct commander turned garage into cigar lounge

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There’s no smoke without a fire.

The police department is investigating allegations that officers at the 62nd Precinct station house in Bath Beach turned its garage into a private — and illegal — cigar lounge at the behest of its commanding officer, Captain Anthony Longobardi, according to the New York Post, which first reported the news of the smoke sanctuary on Jan. 10.

Longobardi allegedly first began offering comp time to officers who were willing to spruce up the dingy space soon after he was named commanding officer of the precinct in September, according to the Post report. The paper also obtained photos of the lounge, complete with two cigar boxes, a humidor, cigar cutter, and two lighters on top of an oak coffee table near an off-white couch and folding chairs. A separate image shows a standing ashtray filled with cigar butts and wrappers and two nearby propane heaters or electric space heaters.

What’s more, Longobardi allegedly only allows his favorite officers to puff up in the lounge, including — ironically — his integrity control officer, Lt. Mohamed Eltony, whose job description includes preventing internal corruption.

But city and state law prohibit smoking in workplaces and government buildings.

The borough’s South Borough Commander, Steven Powers, will oversee the probe into the smoke lounge, according to the Post. Commissioner O’Neill told the Post that he didn’t have an issue with officers using the garage as a lounge, but that they would take further action if officers were indeed smoking in the space.

A spokesman from the Police Department admitted in a statement that the garage is indeed used as a lounge — just not a cigar one — and insisted that all officers have access to it.

“The 62 Precinct station house has a lounge for police officers, just like any other command in the city. It is not the commanding officer’s cigar lounge, as you allege,” he said. “Every police officer assigned to the command have access to the lounge, which was recently painted and cleaned.”

The department did not respond to follow-up questions regarding the probe.

Captain Longobardi could not be reached for comment.

The president of Longobardi’s union — Roy Richter of the Captains Endowment Association — admitted to the Post that the officers smoke cigars in the lounge but insisted that there have been no complaints of smoking in the garage, and added that the cigar-loving officers weren’t in violation of local law because “it’s not considered a confined space” since the garage’s rolldown gate provides “adequate ventilation.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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