Probe of NYC mayoral adviser Timothy Pearson broadens in wake of harassment allegation

NEW YORK — A city Department of Investigation probe of mayoral adviser Timothy Pearson has been expanded to include his role in NYPD personnel and promotional matters concerning officers involved in two lawsuits accusing him of sexual harassment and retaliation, the New York Daily News has learned.

DOI probers have asked the NYPD for a wide range of records related to personnel procedures, discretionary promotions and disciplinary charges, sources said. The agency was previously investigating Pearson for his role in a scuffle with security guards at a Midtown migrant shelter in October.

They’ve also asked for the complete personnel files, including discrimination allegations and Internal Affairs complaints, for Pearson, a retired NYPD inspector, and at least five cops who worked in the Mayor’s Municipal Services Assessment unit, sources told The News.

The request came after retired NYPD Sgt. Roxanne Ludemann sued Pearson and the city March 22 alleging that Pearson improperly touched her repeatedly in the office and then retaliated against her by using his influence with Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, the highest ranking uniformed officer, to block her promotion.

Ludemann was then bounced to four different commands in six months before she retired in disgust in December 2023, her lawsuit alleges.

The assessment unit was created in June 2022 by the Adams administration to examine the performance of city agencies and given broad powers to request information, do site visits and conduct interviews with agency staff.

Retired Sgt. Michael Ferrari, another staffer in MSA, sued April 17 alleging Pearson used his influence with Maddrey to effectively end his 16-year police career by seeing to it he was placed back on patrol working nights after backing Ludemann’s allegations.

Ferrari alleges that when he was called to a meeting in April 2023 with Maddrey, Pearson walked out of Maddrey’s office — allegedly after discussing Ferrari’s transfer.

Lt. George Huang, a third MSA member who supported Ludemann’s claims, was moved to a Transit District, the Ferrari lawsuit alleges.

Deputy Chief Militadis Marmara allegedly counseled Ludemann to file a complaint against Pearson, and got into a heated argument April 11, 2023 with Pearson over her promotion, the lawsuits allege.

Marmara, who has not filed any legal action against the city, was transferred out of MSA at his request then assigned as second-in-command in Brooklyn North. On two consecutive days after the blow-up with Pearson, he was ordered to get a drug test and called by an NYPD unit that counsels cops in crisis, The News has reported.

“At the whim of Tim Pearson, all of our careers were turned upside down,” Ferrari told The News April 17.

On April 12, 2023, once they learned Marmara was being transferred, most of the cops in the unit indicated they wanted to themselves leave.

Pearson then held a staff meeting in which he warned the cops in the unit, “You could be in the 75, you could be in the 47. I don’t know. Before you go jumping ship … be smart about it,” according to a recording of the meeting obtained by the News. The 75th Precinct in East New York and the 47th Precinct in the northern Bronx are considered higher crime commands.

City Hall often intervenes in NYPD promotions at least at the higher ranks, but it’s rare for DOI to investigate the discretionary promotional process.

DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi declined comment.

John Scola, the lawyer representing both Ludemann and Ferrari, said the lawsuits demonstrate Pearson is a “free agent able to pull strings inside the NYPD” and added it’s unusual for DOI to examine the Police Department’s promotion process.

“We are pleased that the Department of Investigation is investigating Tim Pearson and will cooperate in any way that is needed,” Scola said Tuesday.

The NYPD did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment.

Kayla Mamelak, a spokesperson for Eric Adams, declined to answer questions about the DOI probe, but referred The News to the mayor’s remarks on April 23.

“The suits, in any legal process, we will follow the process. We respect the process. We’re going to do that,” Adams said at the time.

Lawyers with the firm Wilson Elser, which is representing Pearson and the city, did not reply to a request for comment.

Pearson was already being investigated by DOI for his role in an Oct. 7 scuffle with security guards at a migrant shelter in Midtown.

During the scuffle, Pearson clashed with guard Terrence Rosenthal outside the 31st St. shelter after Pearson showed up for an unannounced inspection in a fleece jacket that spelled out his title and “NYPD” on the back.

The shelter was later shut down over fire safety issues. The charges against Rosenthal and a female guard were dropped by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

A lawyer representing Rosenthal filed a notice of intent to sue with the city in late October.

“DOI’s investigation into the October 2023 incident at the migrant shelter is ongoing and DOI declines further comment regarding your other inquiries,” Struzzi, the DOI spokeswoman, said.

Mayor Adams has described Pearson as “sharp and ethical” and cited his efforts to rescue people on 9/11.