FDNY boss disparages her own booing firefighters in apology texts to NY AG Letitia James

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) commissioner disparaged firefighters in an apology message to Attorney General Letitia James after the rank-and-file booed her.

In newly obtained records, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh gushed over James, vowing she’d “do anything” for her while apologizing for the mostly-male workforce who greeted the attorney general with boos at a department promotion ceremony in March.

“I should have called you last night, but I’ve been trying to find a way to say I’m sorry that doesn’t involve me apologizing for men who don’t deserve such grace,” Kavanagh reportedly texted James the day after the event, according to records from the AG’s office that the New York Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

“I haven’t succeeded. I am sorry that we didn’t stop them and that I can’t fix them,” the commissioner declared.

Video footage from the ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center’s Brooklyn Campus in March showed James, who brought a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, not getting a warm welcome as she took to the podium. Members of the FDNY reportedly booed James and chanted Trump’s name as she tried to speak, the appearance coming soon after the $454 million civil fraud judgment against Trump.

Kavanagh reportedly set out to hunt down those who expressed themselves, with FDNY Chief of Department John Hodges revealing at the time that the department’s Bureau of Investigation and Trials was looking into the matter.

In the released text message, NYC’s public advocate and a Brooklyn councilwoman told James after the incident, “I wouldn’t be here without you.”

She thanked the attorney general for teaching her that “bullying, threats and lots of booing with grace would be part of the gig if you ever wanted to make big change.”

“So thank you for that. I care about you and will do anything for you, always,” the FDNY boss added.

James, who previously served as NYC’s public advocate and a Brooklyn councilwoman, responded to Kavanagh’s message.

“The guys who were there are new to the dept and don’t know my history as it relates to fdny,” James wrote in the text message. “We have work to do and I am willing to put in the time. BTW – this is my first time that I have been booed.”

Days after James was booed, Kavanagh returned to the Christian Cultural Center to apologize to church members about James being jeered at by the FDNY. Evidently, she sought the attorney general’s blessing on her prepared remarks beforehand.

“I’ll send them over to make sure there isn’t anything you’re uncomfortable with,” Kavanagh texted James on March 10, referring to a copy of her speech.

And in another message obtained by the New York Post, James had expressed her regrets about appearing at the ceremony.

“I am so sorry [the] episode took away from people being promoted and their families …” James reportedly texted an FDNY staffer whose name was redacted.

“I should have taken temperature, checked with [the] department and stayed away. I have to repair relationships with members,” she added.

Frieda Powers


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