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The lost son's lost daughter

April 15, 2002

Here's another week in the life of the sometimes dysfunctional family known as the New York Police Department.

Let's begin with former Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who has gone from lost son to lost daughter.

"The Lost Son" was, of course, the title of Kerik's autobiography that documented his search for his mother, whom Kerik last saw as a tot, and discovered she was a prostitute.

Kerik recently found another relative - a daughter he fathered out of wedlock while serving in the army in Korea 30 years ago.

In "The Lost Son," Kerik writes that he lost contact with the girl's mother and that he had been searching for his daughter "ever since."

Well, guess what? The girl's mother spotted Kerik on Oprah last fall, where he was plugging "The Lost Son," and made contact.

One question that has not been answered yet is how Kerik's wife, Hala, the mother of his young daughter, took the news.

"Very well," says a Kerik friend. "Kerik didn't tell her until after the Christmas holidays. He didn't know how she would react. It's not like he cheated on her. It happened a long time ago, before he was married to her."

From Kerik we turn to the department's chief of detectives, William Allee.

Appointed by former Commissioner Howard Safir on March 21, 1997, Allee's tenure has been one of the longest in department history. Most remarkably, he has survived under three commissioners.

Not that the balding, white-haired Allee hasn't taken his lumps.

When detectives failed to find the body of East Side millionairess Irene Silverman, Safir began each executive staff meeting by asking out loud, "Where is Irene Silverman?"

Safir then transferred Chief of Manhattan Detectives Kevin Farrell into Allee's office as his executive officer, a position formerly held by a lower-ranking inspector. But whether the move was a dis to Allee or to Farrell, no one could figure out. The matter became moot when Farrell was appointed sanitation commissioner.

Most recently, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has declined to say whether he will retain Allee. Last week Allee appeared at a news conference with two other detective chiefs as Kelly announced the capture of a man in Florida suspected of the stabbing death of Bronx undercover detective Jaime Betancourt.

After lauding the detectives' work, Kelly was asked whether his praise indicated he would retain Allee. Kelly declined to answer but said if he did, he might offer the job of Allee's deputy to Your Humble Servant. [We accept.]

The Struggling Safirs. The Police Department is redefining its relationship with the police museum of which Safir's wife, Carol, is chairwoman and Safir a board member.

Kelly is demanding greater control over the museum's activities. The by-laws have been changed to reflect that the department owns the museum's trademark and logo, which cannot be used without the department's explicit permission, says the museum's executive director, Ninfa Segarra.

Kelly has designated First Deputy Commissioner George Grasso, who served as deputy commissioner of legal affairs under Safir, as the museum point man. Sources say Carol Safir was miffed when she had difficulty scheduling an appointment with him.

Howard Safir declined comment. Grasso said through a department spokesman that meetings were being held frequently.

Truth or Dare.
Meanwhile, over in the police trial room, the final act of the saga of Det. Bobby Bolson was played out.

In 1998, Bolson killed Federico Hurtado, 62, of Queens in a car accident.

Bolson's attorney, Marvyn Kornberg, announced he would subpoena Queens District Attorney Richard Brown - who visited Bolson at North Shore Hospital on Long Island, where Bolson was taken after the accident. Brown was to testify that Bolson had not been drinking.

Bolson was found guilty of a misdemeanor at a criminal trial and docked 40 days in a departmental trial. Kornberg never subpoenaed Brown.

In the police trial room last week, Rick Tirelli, a detective union trustee, and Det. Michael Failla, went on trial for allegedly preventing Queens Assistant District Attorney Joshua Mandel from interviewing Bolson that night at the hospital.

But Mandel's testimony appeared to be at odds with that of his boss, Robert Schwerdt.

Kornberg, representing Failla, again announced he planned to subpoena Brown.

As happened in the past, the police trial judge hearing the case turned him down.

That's what Kelly and Chief of Department Joe Esposito are said to be currently experiencing.

Kelly retained Esposito as the department's highest uniformed officer and the two have been struggling to develop a comfort zone, one made no less difficult by fears throughout the department that should shootings continue to rise, Esposito will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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© 2002 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.