January 25, 2008 -- Spoiled diva Kimora Lee Simmons has been stripped of her latest fashion accessory - a parking permit proclaiming she's on "official business" for the city's Correction Department, officials said yesterday. The placard was a gift from a jail guard who moonlights as her chauffeur.
But he will likely face just a slap on the wrist, and Simmons won't have to model prison stripes. An eagle-eyed Post photographer last week snapped her Cadillac Escalade - and the placard - while it was parked outside Barneys on the Upper East Side. The model-turned-fashion queen was inside at the time, doing some shopping with her actor boyfriend, Djimon Hounsou. Simmons, the fashion-icon wannabe and former wife of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, claimed she didn't know how she got the pass.
"I don't know. I don't know," she babbled. "I'm not driving!" Authorities declined to name the offending officer/chauffeur and identified him only as a 10-year department veteran. The officer had properly acquired the pass when he worked in the department's emergency-services unit. But he should have turned it in two years ago, after he was promoted and transferred to a Rikers Island job, said Deputy Commissioner Stephen Morello.
"With emergency services, it was a position where he could be called on short notice to a facility in a neighborhood where parking was an issue," Morello said. "But at Rikers Island, that's no longer an issue." Morello said the department had approved the officer's extracurricular driving job. Simmons doesn't appear to be in legal jeopardy despite breaking the rules to score prime parking spots, authorities said.
"The placard seems, in this case, to be the responsibility of the officer, and DOC [Department of Correction] has already retrieved it from the officer," Morello said. The officer is likely to face, at worst, internal discipline, possibly a brief suspension or fine. A spokesman for the union representing correction officers said none of its members has asked for representation against administrative charges involving parking passes. The Bloomberg administration is in the midst of a crackdown on the illegal use of parking permits.