Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ex-NYC Police Commissioner Kerik Pleads Guilty

The ethically-challenged former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik might have been contractors' best friend if his nomination as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hadn't been scotched soon after it was announced.

Yesterday, Kerik had a different kind of appointment. At the courthouse.

Bernard B. Kerik, whose rise from New York beat cop to head of the Department of Homeland Security was derailed by ethics questions, dodged prison Friday in a plea bargain by admitting he took $165,000 in gifts from a company attempting to do business with the city.

Kerik, at a 10-minute hearing in state Supreme Court in the Bronx, pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors under a deal that allows him to continue without interruption his new career as a Middle East security consultant.

Kerik acknowledged accepting renovations on his Bronx apartment from a company attempting to land city contracts -- Interstate Industrial Corp., a business reputedly linked to organized crime. And he admitted failing to report a $28,000 loan from a real estate developer, as required by city law.

Under the plea, Mr. Kerik, who has a security consulting business, will pay $221,000 in fines and penalties...

Among the more surprising aspects of Mr. Kerik's case has been the disclosure that much of the information about his ties to Interstate was known by lawyers inside the Department of Investigation, but it never affected his closely contested candidacy for police commissioner in 2000. At the time, the lawyers knew that Interstate's owners, whom it was investigating for ties to organized crime, had established a relationship with him and had hired his brother and the best man at his wedding.

The agency learned of the relationship in June 2000, and the commissioner at the time, Edward J. Kuriansky, talked to Mr. Kerik about it, officials have said.

Asked if the facts known in 2000 had ever been passed along to Mr. Giuliani, who has said he was never told about Mr. Kerik's relationship with the company, (Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn of the city's Department of Investigation) did not answer directly. But instead, she said through a spokeswoman that Mr. Kuriansky went to meetings with the mayor and his senior staff every day.

<< Home