Schenectady County

Ex-police chief heard on wiretap

Former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek participated in calls to alleged drug kingpin Kerry K
Lisa Kaczmarek, wife of former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek, appears in Schenectady County Court on Friday morning.
Lisa Kaczmarek, wife of former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek, appears in Schenectady County Court on Friday morning.

Former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek participated in calls to alleged drug kingpin Kerry Kirkem, offering to go to Long Island to get cocaine in time for his birthday, according to wiretap transcripts obtained by The Daily Gazette.

Greg Kaczmarek’s voice is heard in the background as his wife talked to Kirkem during two phone calls Feb. 18. Both phone calls were made within minutes of each other over the noon hour, using a phone registered to Greg Kaczmarek.

Lisa Kaczmarek, 48, who was arrested Thursday, is heard asking Kirkem for what authorities say was cocaine, though the words are not used.

Kirkem had a delay in a shipment, and Lisa Kaczmarek expressed anger that Kirkem could not get her product soon enough, saying her “business” was ruined.

She also expressed to Kirkem that she was working with a deadline: Her husband’s birthday was coming up.

“Greg’s got a birthday Wednesday,” she told Kirkem, according to the transcript

Then the former chief speaks up from the background: “That’s my birthday present.”

Kirkem jokes that Greg Kaczmarek should make the trip to Long Island. “Ask him if he, he want to take that trip for me.”

Lisa Kaczmarek is charged with felony conspiracy and faces up to 25 years in state prison if convicted. Her husband has not been charged, though his name is included in an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Asked Thursday why Greg Kaczmarek was not charged, even though he was named in the indictment, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the investigation was not over. A spokesman reiterated that Friday afternoon.

Greg Kaczmarek served as Schenectady police chief from 1996 until 2002, retiring in the wake of a department informant and drug scandal that sent four officers to prison.

He has long denied drug use, even holding a press conference before becoming chief, flatly denying the accusations.


Albany attorney Kevin Luibrand is representing the couple. He appeared in Schenectady County Court on Friday morning, getting Lisa Kaczmarek’s bail set at $10,000 cash. She was released by 2:30 p.m.

Lisa Kaczmarek entered the courtroom nearly in tears. She wore an orange jail jumpsuit and was handcuffed. Her husband sat in the gallery.

Afterward, he declined to comment except to say “I love my wife, she has my full support.”

Asked later about the transcripts, Luibrand declined to comment.

“As a criminal case it belongs in court and that’s where we’ll address anything,” he said.

Lisa Kaczmarek was one of 18 defendants to appear in court Friday. A total of 24 were indicted Thursday as part of what authorities said was a Schenectady-based cocaine and heroin distribution operation.

Lisa Kaczmarek was described by authorities as street-level, selling to her own circle of clients.

Kirkem and another man, Oscar Mora, were described by authorities as the group’s leaders. They both face top-level drug counts.

Kirkem, who was ordered held pending a Monday bail hearing, is represented by attorney Michael Braccini.

After Friday morning’s arraignment, Braccini said he had just received a copy of the indictment and hadn’t read it. He had also just gotten a copy of the warrant used to start the wiretaps.

Braccini said he expected to target the warrant’s constitutionality.

“These are serious issues, they’re serious charges,” Braccini said.

It remains unclear how long authorities believe Lisa Kaczmarek was involved, but, at one point in the transcripts, she referenced a period of at least a year: “It’s time to pay me back for all that [expletive deleted] I had to go through for a year with Tamika,” she allegedly said.


Lisa Kaczmarek starts out the conversations upset over the shipment delay.

“You ruin my business and then you don’t call me,” she told Kirkem, who asked how he ruined it.

“I’m so [expletive deleted] mad you don’t know, I almost died,” she continued. “I couldn’t believe it [Greg in background] so now how do I get, how do I get hooked up here, or do you not even, the money’s in the thing.”

She then talked of her husband’s birthday.

Lisa Kaczmarek, Kirkem and the former police chief in the background talk about a trip to Long Island, a trip that apparently never happened.

The three, however, met two days later, the indictment reads, “to discuss the details surrounding the police seizing cocaine and other narcotics from the drug organization earlier in the day, and how to proceed with their drug organization in view of that police seizure.”

That meeting apparently is not referenced in the transcripts.

In the Feb. 18 conversation, Kirkem did not like the idea of Greg Kaczmarek making the trip. He would only use his regular driver. Besides, it would be dangerous.

“You have to,” Kirkem said, “no listen, it would be dangerous for him.”

Lisa Kaczmarek laughed. “Greg goes ‘I’ll show him the badge.’ ”

Kirkem replied “Oh my God” as Lisa Kaczmarek continued talking to Greg in the background: “He said it would be dangerous for you.”

Kirkem finally refused the Kaczmareks’ offers of help, instead telling them they had to wait.

Lisa Kaczmarek then asked for backup.

“If that don’t come thru, see if you can find something else for Greg’s birthday cause you’re my only connect.”

Kirkem replied, “alright.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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