NYC Jails Commissioner Accused of Undermining External Oversight in Campaign: Court DocumentsDecember 5, 2023
Louis Molina, the Commissioner of the Department of Correction, is accused of leading a campaign to undermine the mandated oversight of city jails by federal court orders and city law. The claim, filed by a DOC investigator Ruben Benitez, alleges that Molina and his top aides gave orders to withhold information from federal monitor Steve Martin, and barred access to the DOC’s Investigation Division offices. Additionally, Molina is accused of retaliating against Benitez by demoting him and slashing his salary. Sarena Townsend, who is representing Benitez, is calling for a criminal investigation of the allegations. Molina has denied the allegations and described his record of service. Molina’s alleged directives could constitute violations of Mayoral Executive Order No. 16, requiring city employees to cooperate fully with the Department of Investigation. Benitez has documented his interactions with Molina and alleges he was intimidated and coerced by him. Additionally, Molina is accused of manipulating the operations of the intake squad and undermining cooperation with the monitor. In response to the allegations, a spokeswoman for the Mayor did not comment. However, the claim alleges that on Benitez’s demotion, the purpose was to ‘gag’ Benitez to allow Molina to continue his illegal behavior under a cloak of secrecy. Ultimately, the allegations made against Louis Molina call into question the manner in which the Department of Correction is being managed.