The New York Post by ADAM NICHOLS -November 6, 2008
Sixteen Manhattan court officers who carry guns and guard prisoners reportedly turned their lunch breaks into frat-house drinking parties over a period of at least four months. In a segment airing tonight, "Inside Edition" says its reporters repeatedly spotted the officers at the Whiskey Tavern, just a block from Manhattan Criminal Court, having a few belts before returning to court and strapping their gun belts back on. One of the officers, identified as Steven Zera, drank up to six beers during his lunch hour on 13 occasions, the report says. The program said Officer Christopher Furlani was seen drinking on seven lunch breaks, knocking back as many as three beers and two shots in 90 minutes. Sometimes, the officers went in groups; other times, they drank alone. Drinking on duty violates court policy, said Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver, adding, "We have not seen any evidence yet, but certainly, we will take it seriously." Dennis Quirk, of the court officers union, said he spoke to members seen on the show "and they said they had a beer or two. If they had that over two hours and had their lunch, they would certainly not be intoxicated." Furlani and Zera refused to comment to the show, and efforts by The Post to reach them were unsuccessful.