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It wasn't Fahey's finest moment

March 11, 2002

Here's the latest in the Bernie, Tom and Judith story involving jewelry and a cell phone that was supposedly stolen from the set at Fox television.

Judith is Judith Regan, the editor/publisher/publicist of Bernie's autobiography "The Lost Son." Bernie is former police commissioner Bernard Kerik, to whom Regan complained on Nov. 28 when her cell phone disappeared.

Tom is the normally sane Chief of Manhattan Detectives Tom Fahey, whom Kerik called after hearing from Regan.

Fahey had just moved to Manhattan detectives from the Public Information office, where he ran the department's version of a Favor Bank.

He did so many favors - including, in the interest of full disclosure, escorting Your Humble Servant and a Newsday editor to Ground Zero - he took temporary leave of his senses when Kerik called about Regan's cell phone.

Fahey sent the Manhattan South homicide task force on overtime to roust five Fox television makeup artists at their homes in the middle of the night after Regan fingered them.

The five have now filed a notice of claim, i.e. future lawsuit, against Kerik and the city. Here are their stories:

Antonio Huerta. A detective and a sergeant knocked at his door in Brooklyn at 12:20 a.m. on Nov. 29.

"They kept trying to convince me they were cops," Huerta said. "They fingerprinted me in my kitchen. They said everyone else was going to get fingerprinted. They then took a Polaroid photograph of me and mentioned ... I would be taking a polygraph test.

"They said ... they would start making arrests if they had to."

Cynthia Faye. At 12:20 a.m. on Nov. 29, two detectives from Manhattan South Homicide rang her doorbell in Mountainside, N.J.

"They were in an unmarked car and did not show any credentials," she said. "My understanding of why the police had to come in the middle of the night was to retrieve her necklace before one of us sold it!

"If you or I were missing anything, we could not send police, not to mention homicide, to anyone's home in the middle of the night."

Keira Iritano. At 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 28, cops rang her doorbell in Staten Island. Iritano looked outside to see an unmarked car.

"I ... asked who they were," she said. "I said I will not open the door because he could be some crazy person posing as a police officer."

 

She called 911 and cops from her local precinct arrived.

"I did wind up opening the door prior to my locals arriving, only because I kept my dog right by my side. She growled the whole time he was talking to me."

Debra Phillips Kunkel. At 10:40 p.m. on Nov. 28, Lt. Stephen Camardese, who heads the Manhattan South homicide task force, came to her Manhattan apartment and was met by her husband, who happens to be a cop.

When Camardese identified himself, "My husband then said 'You sent homicide people out to investigate a petit larceny?'"

"'Well, you know, Judith did the book for the police commissioner,' was the lieutenant's response," Kunkel said in a statement.

Camardese could not be reached.

Referring to her husband, she said, "Thank God he only has two more weeks so he does not have to deal with stupid nonsense like this."

Regan's cell phone, meanwhile, was recovered in a garbage can outside the studio. The jewelry was found in her handbag.

***

In or Out? Capt. Dennis Sindone beat a federal rap that he conspired with a rogue cop and drug dealer to fake the dealer's arrest and steal $60,000. Now he faces a departmental trial where his chances of winning reinstatement range from zero to minus one.

First, the standard of proof at One Police Plaza is "preponderance of the evidence," not reasonable doubt, as it is in criminal cases.

Second, there's a videotape said to contain a conversation between Sindone and the rogue cop, Robert Noyer, that the feds chose not to play but that law enforcement sources say "adds another piece."

The feds acknowledge their case was weak and relied on two felons, Noyer and the drug dealer. The federal jury refused to make the leap between Sindone's gambling debts and his alleged theft. A police trial judge might.

***

A Cheer for Campisi. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who had not announced whether he will keep the heads of the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Chief of Detectives, said last week that IAB Chief Charles Campisi was doing a "great job."

Asked if that meant he was going to keep him at IAB, Kelly said, "Yes."

Kelly declined to discuss Chief of Detectives William Allee.

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© 2002 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.