Sunday, December 12, 2004

Why is Kerik out? The New York Daily News has the real story. Cue up the Sopranos soundtrack:

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik accepted thousands of dollars in cash and gifts without making proper public disclosures, a Daily News investigation has revealed.

... for many years, one of Kerik's main benefactors was Lawrence Ray, the best man at Kerik's 1998 wedding, according to Ray, other sources and checks shown by Ray to The News.

Ray and another Kerik pal, restaurant owner Carmen Cabell, helped bankroll Kerik's 1998 wedding reception, contributing nearly $10,000.

Ray also gave Kerik nearly $2,000 to buy a bejeweled Tiffany badge that Kerik coveted when he was Correction commissioner.

And Ray said he gave Kerik $4,300 more to buy high-end Bellini furniture when Kerik allegedly griped that he couldn't afford to furnish a bedroom for a soon-to-be born daughter....

At the time of the gifts, Ray was working for Interstate Industrial, then a major city contractor....

Hey, but it's just friends helping a friend, right? It's no big frickin' deal.

Er, no:

A week after Kerik's daughter was born, Ray and 18 other men were indicted in a $40 million, mob-run, pump-and-dump stock swindle. Kerik repeatedly spoke to Ray's criminal defense attorney before the indictment, but he dropped his longtime benefactor when the case became public.

A bit more about Lawrence Ray and his associates:

The Federal investigation of the DiTommaso brothers concerned their purchase of a Staten Island waste station controlled by Edward Garafola. who is married to the sister of former Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Garafola was indicted in March 2000 along with Lawrence Ray, an executive of the DiTommaso brothers’ Interstate Industrial Corporation, and Daniel Persico, nephew of Colombo Family Godfather Carmine "The Snake" Persico, on Federal charges involving a $40 million stock ‘pump and dump’ scam. Interstate Industrial Corporation was also denied a contract by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 2000 to perform work on an Atlantic City gambling casino.

Oops -- I almost left out the best stuff, from a Daily News sidebar:

...Kerik recommended his close friend, Lawrence Ray, for a job helping Interstate cope with mob-leery regulators here and in Atlantic City.

Based solely on Kerik calling Ray "a top-shelf guy," the New Jersey company hired Ray at $100,000 a year, according to a sworn deposition that Interstate owner, Frank DiTomasso, gave to city investigators in June 2000.

Shortly after hiring Ray, Interstate hired Kerik's brother, Don, to run a dirt and stone transfer station on Staten Island, DiTomasso told investigators....

Charges that Interstate, based in Clifton, N.J., is controlled by organized crime resurfaced last month when a mob turncoat, Anthony Rotondo, testified in Manhattan Federal Court that Interstate paid protection money to the Gambino crime family....

At his deposition, DiTomasso recalled that in November 1998, he was "venting" to Ray, whom he had known socially for a decade, about his problems convincing investigators that he wasn't tied to the mob.

"He said, 'Look, I have a lot of experience with law enforcement ... I can probably help you,'" DiTomasso said. "At this point in time it was like, you know, I wanted to kiss him."...

Kerik forged his own relationship with DiTomasso, inviting him to his private Christmas party at Correction Department headquarters.

"When I would be in the city I would call him, see if he was in, stop by," DiTomasso told city investigators. "I liked Bernie. I thought he was a pretty interesting guy. Still do."

DiTomasso's right about that.


Oh, and a hat tip to TBogg for spotting the fact that the White House vetter who missed all this stuff is the next U.S. attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.


And I wonder what else might have turned up. Newsday again mentions the case of Eric DeRavin, a deputy warden who says that then-corrections commissioner Kerik refused to give him a promotion because he had reprimanded a woman Kerik had dated -- adding that Kerik's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina,

was in contact with at least one TV news organization in a bid to keep it from airing an interview with another ex-jail supervisor, sources said. The interview contained other allegations against Kerik, some of which have already been in print, the sources said. (emphasis mine)

And Newsday columnist Ellis Henican alludes to "[a] swirl of ugly stories about [Kerik's] dating life."

Worse and worse.

No comments: