Friday, December 03, 2004

I want to clear up a misconception I've seen in a couple of blogs: Bernard Kerik was not the New York police commissioner who oversaw the Amadou Diallo shooting and the rape of Abner Louima with a stick -- that was Howard Safir, Kerik's predecessor.

Kerik's scandals are a bit more banal:

Kerik was accused of using photographs taken by detectives at the WTC site for his book.... He agreed to pay $2,500 to settle a Conflict of Interest Board finding that he had improperly used three city cops to travel to Ohio to learn details about his mother for the book.

After his publisher, Judith Regan, complained her cell phone was stolen while she was on a Fox television show, detectives were sent to the homes of Fox employees who were on the set at the time.

He was also accused of awarding the department's top medals to his cronies, one of whom was the chief who sent the detectives to the homes of the Fox employees. A second was one of the cops who traveled to Ohio.

Earlier this year, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly raised questions about Kerik's ordering four $50,000 high-tech doors for One Police Plaza, although no one has produced any evidence of this.

... in 2003, Kerik announced he was taking a six-month government assignment in Iraq to train the national police. He left after three months for reasons he has never explained.

In 2002, he joined the board of Taser International. Last month, as Taser's president and chief executive each sold $20 million of stock, Kerik sold his for $5.7 million.

Recent disclosures have questioned the safety of Taser's electrical guns, which are used by thousands of police departments. Did Kerik sell because he anticipated his Homeland Security appointment? Or is this the latest Kerik mystery?

And there's this, about Kerik's tenure as the city's corrections commissioner:

One non-fan, a Correction Department veteran, sarcastically asked if former three-star chief Anthony Serra, who rose up the ranks during Kerik's tenure but is now under indictment for misusing public resources, would become commerce secretary.

...For example, Serra's role as a chief became a kind of agency within an agency, according to federal prosecutors, in which he could manipulate the payroll to use dozens of underlings on Republican campaigns and to fix up his house. His trial has been continually postponed and now is scheduled for January in the Bronx.

Comptroller's audits indicated that throughout the tenure of Fraser and Kerik, there was little accountability for the purchase of goods from jail equipment to concession items.

Similarly, an off-budget foundation that Kerik nominally headed was the subject of a federal probe in which one ex-aide pleaded guilty and is serving prison time.

And then there's the publication date of his book: November 12, 2001.

That bugs me -- Kerik published the book before the stench from Ground Zero had dissipated. Maybe he did so only at the urging of Judith Regan, his editor (and occasional workout partner), who's not exactly known for understatement and subtlety (Regan's recent books have included memoirs by porn star Jenna Jameson and a ballet dancer obsessed with anal sex). But even if it was Regan's idea to seize the moment in that tactless fashion, Kerik didn't object. (Regan also hosted a Fox News documentary about Kerik three and a half months after 9/11.)

So 9/11 happened and Kerik seized on it as an opportunity to advance his career. Maybe that makes him a perfect choice to work for Bush.

No comments: