Schenectady County

Former Schenectady police chief to accept prison sentence

Years of denials could come to an end this morning when former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmar
Former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek walks toward the Schenectady County Courthouse with his wife Lisa in this Sept. 25 file photo.
Former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek walks toward the Schenectady County Courthouse with his wife Lisa in this Sept. 25 file photo.

Years of denials could come to an end this morning when former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek is expected to accept two years in state prison in exchange for a guilty plea related to the drug case against him, sources have confirmed.

His wife Lisa Kaczmarek is also expected to take a deal, accepting six months in jail in return for her own plea.

Both are scheduled to be in Schenectady County Court before Judge Karen Drago at 11 a.m. today. The official court calender has both on for possible pleas.

Both plea deals would follow offers accepted by 21 others in the case. The deals have generally ranged from time served to just over five years.

The two leaders of the drug ring, Kerry Kirkem and Oscar Mora, received deals of 12 and 20 years in state prison, respectively. Kirkem pleaded to a top drug possession count, accused of setting up deals and shipments and keeping workers in line. Mora got 20 years, increased by a federal weapons case.

Five others who have admitted varying degrees of involvement are to appear in court this afternoon for sentencing, including Hazel Nader, who authorities said was a manager in the central operation of the ring. She is to get four years.

Greg Kaczmarek served as Schenectady police chief from 1996 to 2002, retiring in the wake of a department drug scandal that sent four officers to prison after a federal investigation. Allegations of drug use have long dogged him, even predating his time as chief. In the days before he was appointed, he denied the rumors at a news conference.

The outcome of this morning’s appearance by the Kaczmareks would see Greg Kaczmarek, indicted in September after the others, get more time than his wife, who was indicted four months earlier.

Both now face indictments on six separate counts of conspiracy and drug possession. And while neither one was an initial target, both were accused of using Kirkem as their source for drugs.

Both are also accused of roles in a central drama to the investigation.

It was inside the Central Avenue topless bar DiCarlo’s that prosecutors alleged Greg and Lisa Kaczmarek met with Kirkem to decide on a response to the apparent police seizure of drugs.

Early court filings had Lisa Kaczmarek as the one on wire taps calling Kirkem, asking for drugs and referencing her business.

On one call, Greg Kaczmarek was allegedly heard in the background boasting the drugs were to celebrate his coming birthday.

But the first round of indictments came and went in May with only his wife and his stepson, Miles Smith, facing indictments. Miles Smith has already admitted to a charge related to the conspiracy.

Prosecutors apparently felt they had enough to indict them, but only enough to mention the former chief by name.

It was in papers filed in July that prosecutors alleged Lisa Kaczmarek took a call from Kirkem. An estimated $150,000 in drugs had been taken from drug mule Misty Gallo and police involvement was suspected.

It was that night, Greg’s birthday, that the three met at DiCarlo’s. And it was Greg Kaczmarek allegedly telling Kirkem he needed to move his stash houses and change telephone numbers. The worker who lost the drugs to police, Misty Gallo, also should be fired. Stash houses were soon moved, authorities alleged, with Smith’s help.

But upon police re-examination of the mountain of wiretap recordings, evidence of the former police chief’s role allegedly broadened.

Details of what investigators found are in the September indictment, including multiple phone calls between Greg Kaczmarek and Kerry Kirkem in February, each of them secretly recorded by state police wiretaps.

The lengthy list of phone calls begins Feb. 1. On that day alone, there were at least four separate calls between Greg Kaczmarek and Kirkem. In the first call, at 9:18 a.m., the former chief asked Kirkem to call him back once Kirkem got out of bed.

Later phone calls that day refer to requests by Greg Kaczmarek for cocaine; Kirkem responded that he was awaiting a shipment.

Greg Kaczmarek accused Kirkem of intervention, so Kaczmarek could not “do business.” He obtained more cocaine from Kirkem the next day, according to the wiretaps. Kirkem confided in Lisa Kaczmarek at one point that he was unhappy with the large drug source and would get a new one with better quality.

Categories: Schenectady County

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