The Trials And Tribulations Of Don Kerik

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“I was now part of the Giuliani family, getting the endorsement of the other family members, the other capos,” Kerik boasted in the book, “The lost son.”

[On The Spot]

The former New York Police Department (NYPD) commissioner, Bernard Bailey Kerik, was whisked to jail today after a judge revoked his bail.

Federal District Judge Stephen C. Robinson ruled that a lawyer involved in fundraising for Kerik, Anthony K. Modafferi III, had leaked court sealed information to The Washington Times in order to generate sympathetic articles.

He admonished Kerik's follies as "toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance." He threw away the $500,000 bail.

People who have been reading my columns over the last few years shouldn't be surprised to hear this conclusion. How the mighty can truly fall; he was once Rudolph Giuliani’s right hand man.

How can Giuliani, who reportedly is contemplating a gubernatorial run survive when the truth starts dripping out? Kerik was indicted almost two years ago and his sixth trial, which had been scheduled for October 13th, had been met with another delay.  A federal court clerk did not know the reason for the delay.  Many are asking, why it’s taking so long for Kerik’s criminal trial to begin. It’s now slated for October 26, according to a Department of Justice spokesman Herb Haddad.

On November 7, 2007, Kerik was indicted on 16 federal criminal counts ranging from cheating on his tax returns to selling his office to the mob. He was also facing charges for lying to the White House on his Homeland Security application and was
re-arrested in Washington D.C. to face those charges after a jurisdiction issue was raised in Kerik’s trial in White Plains, New York. The Washington trial will commence when the White Plains trial ends.

Under former mayor Giuliani’s Administration, Kerik was moved from the NYPD in 1994 and broad banded into the city’s Department of Correction (DOC) and given an invented high ranking civilian position, “Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Director of the Investigations Division.” The post was specially created for him and surely should have been deemed a quid pro quo by the Inspector General’s (IG) office. But that office was already compromised and the corruption was overlooked. 
The move alone was highly suspect because at the time, Kerik was on the job as a policeman for only 12 years and did not have a college degree.  But that did not stop Giuliani from putting Kerik in a position over highly qualified DOC supervisors who paid their dues coming through the ranks. 

To add insult to injury, in 1998 Giuliani, “made,” Kerik the DOC commissioner.  Then Giuliani broad banded Kerik back into the NYPD August 2000, as the commissioner disregarding an established rule created in 1985, by then Commissioner Benjamin Ward, which requires a college degree in order to be promoted above the rank of captain.
There were no rules for the ruler and Giuliani should be sitting right beside Kerik in his cell. Kerik walked around Rikers Island as if he was, “The Don.”

He even openly boasts and compares his civil service career to the mob. “I know the mayor is as big a fan of the Godfather as I am, and I wonder if he noticed how much becoming part of his team resembled becoming part of a Mafia family,” Kerik wrote in his book; words which must now haunt him.  

“I was now part of the Giuliani family, getting the endorsement of the other family members, the other capos,” Kerik boasted in the book, “The lost son.” 

Ironically, Giuliani also just happens to be Kerik’s daughter’s Godfather. The government may want to take another look at that book.

The corruption in New York City was so air tight Kerik’s crimes went unchallenged for a decade.  You have to hand it to a guy who can afford to hire attorneys who know their way around the loop holes in the criminal justice system; which also caused Kerik’s first attorney to be booted from the case and may be called as a witness to obstruction of justice, after Kerik pleaded guilty to lesser state criminal charges to escape jail time.  

“This is the third separate prosecution against him arising out of the same purported corruption allegations from 10 years ago,” Kerik’s attorney Barry H. Berke, said. Even Kerik and others know he has come to the end of a road of a long list of corrupt deeds. His civil service crimes have not even been mentioned.

The DOJ prosecutors are getting hammered with complaints from Kerik and his supporters.  “Kerik is fighting for his reputation against federal prosecution run amok,” writes a pair of misguided magazine writers. They also refer to the DOJ as, “Overzealous federal prosecutors.”  Then they shamefully try to label Kerik an, “American hero.” 

It is not strange for people who know of Kerik to support him for the good that he has done and his recorded accomplishments – then turn a blind eye to the bad and evil he has done while in a high ranking civil service position.

How did Kerik hide his crimes and engage lawful city agencies (the DOC and NYPD) in criminal activity for so long? It took political connections, having Michael Caruso, Department of Investigations (DOI) in his back pocket, and “loyalty.” 
Kerik’s handpicked puppets watched his back and did what he told them to do even if it was not legal. They were rewarded, positions and higher ranks–some even received medal awards for their loyalty, which was handed out at departmental ceremonies and parties. 

As a correction department officer, in 1995, I called for an independent investigation of the DOC; this was before Giuliani made Kerik the commissioner. I notified the Bronx District Attorney’s office several times about the scandal at correction. 
Kerik talks about loyalty, but when Peter and Frank Ditommaso, the mob contractor associates who renovated his West 239th Street apartment testified under oath for him in the state case, he cut a sweet deal with DA Robert Johnson and left them holding the bag. 

They both were arrested for perjury and are due back in Bronx Supreme Court December 1, 2009.   

Kerik also used the DOC Public Information Office to lie to the media and to feed him information even when he was no longer the correction commissioner.  

Tom Antenen was the guy the media had to go to for information when Kerik was going to be named the next commissioner of the NYPD. A lot of information given to the media was lies to cover up Kerik’s civil service criminal trial.

Antenen knows where all Kerik’s bones are buried and was caught on a telephone wiretap after being ordered to have no contact with Kerik – again, there are no rules for the rulers – at least none they were willing to follow.

Kerik’s whole career was built on fraud and stepping on seniority; and that was a no-no to rank and file, but not to Giuliani who threw seniority under the bus.

However, Kerik had a personal relationship with the mob way before he met Giuliani. It wasn’t until he befriended Giuliani in 1993 and became his driver – the next year; Giuliani became the mayor of New York City. 

Thereafter, Kerik became more popular with the mob – using his official status and office to enhance mob connections. 
While Kerik was the DOC commissioner he terminated scores of African American and Latino uniformed and non-uniformed members en masse without a second thought for the families they had to take care of. This inhumane act normally took place right around the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday. 

Not only would the officer feel devastated but their whole family as well. A large number of tenured civil servants were brought up on departmental charges under Kerik’s administration and placed on probation giving Deputy Commissioner Alan Vengersky the authority to terminate their civil service title without a union fight. Once a member agrees to probation they waive their union protection.

Vengersky’s, like Antenen’s titles were created by Kerik for their loyalty, which came with a hefty pay raise doubling their civil service salary – now who would turn that down? 

I’ll keep readers posted.

To have Winkfield consider your own story call: (646) 387-8964. On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; Email: or; call (212) 481-7745. 

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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