Bernie Kerik's Misconduct Allegation

Back when Bernie Kerik withdrew as Bush's nominee for Homeland Security Chief, there were allegations of misconduct.

The New York Times today reports:

New Jersey officials said yesterday that Bernard B. Kerik abused his position as New York City correction commissioner in the late 1990's by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a construction company that he was helping to pursue business with the city. They say the company has long had ties to organized crime.

After Kerik withdrew his name from consideration for HSC Chief, the New Jersey Gaming Commission began an investigation.

The agency is seeking to keep the construction company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, from doing work on Atlantic City casinos and became interested in Mr. Kerik's role with the company when the ties were disclosed after his nomination failed. The agency officials said yesterday that Interstate paid another contractor for renovations worth more than $200,000 made to Mr. Kerik's apartment in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in 1999 and 2000.

The agency has now concluded the investigation and concluded that Kerik engaged in misconduct. Kerik was called as a witness in the Gaming Commission's investigation and took the Fifth Amendment on several questions.

Among the questions he would not answer was whether Frank DiTommaso ever gave him money or anything of value on behalf of Interstate or whether Mr. DiTommaso ever asked him to take any action on behalf of Interstate, the court papers said.

The Gaming Commission reports:

"By directly and indirectly conferring money or other things of value on Kerik during a period in which Kerik was a high-ranking public official of New York City and was in a position to - and did - provide assistance to Interstate, the DiTommasos and Interstate attempted to influence Kerik in the performance or violation of his official duties," the papers said.

Kerik's lawyer, my pal Joe Tacopina says:

Mr. Kerik was not aware that Interstate had paid for the work done on the Bronx apartment, and that he doubted that the work was as expensive as the officials said..... Mr. Tacopina said last night that Mr. Kerik has been working for about six months as a security consultant for the government of Jordan, and that he has been there since the day after the Nov. 9 suicide bombings in three hotels in the capital.

"He's doing far more important things than dealing with gaming commissioner licenses for someone he has no business relationship with," Mr. Tacopina said.

So, why is this of interest? Because it could come back to haunt Kerik's "rabbi," Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani called the White House endorsing Kerik, and while Kerik has said Rudy may not have been responsible for the nomination, others have said differently. More on that here. Back to the Times today:

The agency's accusations about Mr. Kerik are, at minimum, the latest difficulty for a man praised by Mr. Giuliani as one of the most capable law enforcement experts in the country.

Mr. Giuliani, who had accepted part of the blame for Mr. Kerik's embarrassing withdrawal as the Homeland Security nominee, has stuck by Mr. Kerik publicly in the months since, although they have ended their business partnership.

Now, Giuliani is putting his own credibility on the line.

Yesterday, Mr. Giuliani, who is considering running for president in 2008, repeated his support. He said through a spokeswoman that the accusations in the court papers submitted by the gambling agency, a part of the New Jersey state attorney general's office, were "hypothetical."

The spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, when asked if Mr. Giuliani had known about the accusations before Mr. Kerik's appointment as police commissioner in 2000, said, "He did not know."

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    Re: Bernie Kerik's Misconduct Allegation (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    Maybe he can Taser himself repeatedly in public penance.

    Re: Bernie Kerik's Misconduct Allegation (none / 0) (#2)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    Kerik has been working for about six months as a security consultant for the government of Jordan And doing a heckuva job, too.

    Re: Bernie Kerik's Misconduct Allegation (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    Memo to Elliot Spitzer: Sic em!