Burning With Bernie
October 2, 2006
A New York City police captain has been subpoenaed as part of a federal investigation into former police commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Sources say the captain, Sean Crowley — who runs a family accounting practice and prepared Kerik’s tax returns for the first two years after Kerik left the NYPD — received a subpoena for Kerik’s tax records from federal prosecutors two weeks ago.
Crowley, whose day job is heading Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau’s Investigations squad, headed Kerik’s security staff when Kerik served as police commissioner.
It could not be determined whether Crowley is only one of Kerik’s accountants who have been served with subpoenas or what specific evidence prosecutors are looking for.
The sources added that Crowley prepared Kerik’s tax returns “very conservatively,” and that he is not a target.
Others suggest the feds may be examining possible discrepancies between Kerik’s tax filings and his billing of clients when he ran a security agency.
Crowley declined to discuss his subpoena or Kerik. “I don’t discuss any of my clients with outsiders,” he said. He also declined to acknowledge Kerik was a client.
Kerik did not respond to an e-mail. His attorney Joe Tacopina said, “I have no comment on who, if anyone, was subpoenaed.”
A spokeswoman for Michael Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, whose office is conducting the Kerik investigation, said, “We do not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”
What seems apparent is that their investigation of Kerik is widening.
It now involves the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Corrections Department charity during some of the time Kerik served as a top official in the Corrections Department. It also involves his wire-tapped telephone conversations with Jeanine Pirro, the Republican candidate for Attorney General, discussing the possibly illegal bugging of her husband Al’s boat.
The investigation — and others out of which it grew — has turned the image of Kerik from that of a larger than life “hero” of 9/11, seemingly above the law, into a lightning rod of trouble for others.
That is to say, people who get too close to him get burned while Kerik has become a wealthy man.
THE LIST: Here now is a short list of those who got too close to Kerik for their own good:
Frank and Peter DiTommaso. Kerik admitted the DiTommasos' company, Interstate Industrial, paid $165,000 to renovate his Bronx apartment between 1999 and 2000. He also admitted that, while he was Corrections Commissioner, he arranged a meeting in his office with a city official [who happened to be then mayor Rudy Giuliani’s cousin] to help the DiTommasos obtain a city contract.
Kerik was not indicted. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson permitted him to plead guilty to two misdemeanors, one regarding his failure to list the renovation as a gift on his city financial disclosure form. He received a fine but no jail time.
Meanwhile, the DiTommaso brothers, believing they were stand-up guys, denied paying for Kerik’s renovation. They were indicted for perjury.
Fred Patrick. He served a year in prison, sentenced for misusing funds donated to the Correction Department charity while Kerik was a top Correction official. Patrick, its charity’s treasurer, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in diverting $142,733 to pay for phone sex calls from inmates. Hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fund remain unaccounted for. Kerik has denied knowledge of wrongdoing. No charges have been filed against him.
Tom Antenen. Kerik’s longtime spokesman at the Corrections Department and the NYPD, he lost his city job after he was caught on a wiretap talking to Kerik after having been ordered by the city not to do so while Kerik was under investigation by the Bronx D.A.
Jeanine Pirro. Here’s a copy of a fund-raising letter Kerik sent on her behalf not so long ago, an excerpt of which appeared in this column: “Jeanine Pirro is a fighter. Smart, understanding and tough, she has dedicated her career to fighting crime and improving the lives of her fellow New Yorkers. I have know[n] and worked with Jeanine Pirro for more than twelve years and know first-hand her commitment to ‘getting the job done,’ whether that be pursuing white collar criminals, vicious thugs, child pornographers or scam artists. She’s been in the trenches, knows the fight and has gotten results. Let’s keep her fighting for us as Attorney General of the Great State of New York.”
Damning telephone conversations between her and Kerik about tailing and bugging her husband Al were captured on a court-ordered wiretap by the Bronx D.A. and turned over to the feds. Her campaign is now in shambles and she, like Kerik, is said to be a target of a federal probe.
Messers Frank Ciaccio and Richard Filipazzo. Employees at Rudy Giuliani’s Security and Safety affiliate with whom Kerik discussed bugging and tailing Pirro’s husband Al, they are said by the Giuliani camp to have been “freelancing.” Ciaccio left Giuliani over a year ago. Filipazzo’s still there. Let’s see what happens to them next.
Rudy Giuliani. Bad enough to have appointed Kerik police commissioner as a third-grade detective and with no college degree, Giuliani is now the ultimate victim/ target of Kerik’s sleaziness, his presidential ambitions weakened with every new revelation. With his firm now tarnished in the Pirro bugging/tailing business, he abruptly cancelled a fundraiser for her next week.
The Big One. What is it about women whose first names begin with J that so attracts Kerik? Jeanine Pirro. Jeanette Pineiro. Judith Regan.
You Go, Garry. With some newspapers weighing in against Deputy Commissioner Garry McCarthy’s appointment as Newark’s police director because of his dust-up with the Palisades Parkway police, it’s time for this column to go on record.
We support McCarthy’s appointment. Two suggestions: One: Garry, please, no more appeals of your guilty verdict for obstructing traffic. Two: Promise you’ll keep former police commissioner Howard Safir — who received a $140,000 consulting contract from the Newark City counci — as far away as possible from Newark’s citizens.
Copyright © 2006 Leonard Levitt