Bernard Kerik Pleads Guilty; Has Name Removed From New York City Jail
Former New York Police Chief Bernard B. Kerik, proclaimed hero of 9/11, fell to his lowest point yet after pleading guilty to two unclassified misdemeanor charges on June 30, 2006.
Kerik, also a former Director of the New York Department of Corrections, admitted to improperly accepting $165,000 worth of remodeling at his apartment, nearly free of charge, from Interstate Industrial Construction Company. Interstate is suspected of having ties to Italian American organized crime; Kerik reportedly vouched for the company when it was seeking government contracts.
Kerik further admitted to failing to report a $28,000 loan from real estate developer Nathan Berman. Authorities suspect the loan was used to purchase the apartment.
Following the misdemeanor convictions, Kerik will pay a $200,000 fine as part of an agreement with the Bronx district attorney's office.
As an almost immediate response to Kerik's admission of guilt, Mayor Bloomberg ordered Kerik's name removed from the New York jail once named in his honor. At 1:00 a.m. laborers assembled, under cover of darkness, to remove the signs displaying Kerik's name. The Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC), aka "The Tombs," assumed its old moniker.
"People were looking for a definitive move," said a Corrections Department source. "I don't think the name change should be a surprise to anyone."
Kerik came under scrutiny in 2004 when President Bush, at the request of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, nominated Kerik to head the Homeland Security Dept. An ensuing investigation revealed that Kerik had for years employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and nanny. Kerik scrambled to cut his losses, and withdrew his name from nomination. But the vetting process was already rolling and Kerik's house of cards collapsed around him. [See: PLN, May 2006]. However, he still remains very wealthy from his associated business deals.
Two extramarital affairs were uncovered along with an undisclosed marriage in Kerik's past. Kerik resigned from his executive positions with Giuliani Partners L.L.C. and Guliani-Kerik L.L.C. He has also been implicated in an on-going federal probe of former New York attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro, a state prosecutor.
The ex-Top Cop's admission of guilt on the misdemeanor charges drew mixed reactions from New Yorkers.
"It doesn't really matter [whose name is on the jail]. It just matters what they do to the people inside," said Maleek Nevels of Brooklyn.
Angel Mercado disagreed. "It does matter. Citizens know his name. He's a cop; he knew what he did was wrong." Now everyone else knows too.
Most recently, despite his misdemeanor convictions, Kerik was appointed to a top-level presidential security position. In late January 2007, Kerik was hired under a one-year contract as a security advisor for Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, South America.
Apparently, having burned too many bridges in the United States, Kerik is now outsourcing his services.
Source: New York Daily News, FOX News.
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