Advice From “Some Airport Cop From Boston”
March 12, 2007
So Rudy Giuliani broke ten years of silence to meet with Bill Bratton last week in Los Angeles. Giuliani is running for president. Bratton is L.A.’s police commissioner. Here is what they probably said.
Rudy: Bill, I see what a terrific job you’re here doing in Los Angeles.
Bratton: I also did a terrific job in New York.
Rudy: Yes you did, Bill. And I’m the man who hired you.
Bratton: You’re also the man who fired me. You claimed I had a conflict of interest because I signed a contract with Random House to write my book, “Turnaround,” about how I turned around the city’s crime problem. You ordered the Conflict of Interest Board investigate me. To this day, they haven’t issued a report.
Rudy: I don’t remember it that way, Bill. What I remember is your mug on the cover of Time Magazine and only two lines about me.
Bratton: Well, do you remember your press secretary, Cristyne Lategano?
Rudy: I’m not sure what you’re driving at here, Bill. I’m a happily married man now.
Bratton: Well, back in 1995, Lategano held a news conference at city hall and made fun of me. She said I had gone Hollywood and only wanted appear on NYPD Blue. Even Ed Koch was appalled. He said she had no right to do that.
Rudy: You shouldn’t worry about what that old windbag says. If I worried about every….
Bratton: And do you remember what you did to my spokesman, John Miller?
Rudy: Now, Bill, what sense is there in dwelling on the past?
Bratton: You sent out a hit squad, headed by your counsel, Denny Young. He told Miller he had 24 hours to fire 2/3 of his staff in the Public Information Office, or else.
Rudy: Denny said that? That’s not like him.
Bratton: And then you hired Howard Safir to replace me – that, that … “lightweight.”
Rudy: Now wait a minute, Bill….
Bratton: Timoney had it right. That’s what he is. And because Timoney called him that, you had city lawyers researching how to break him down to captain to reduce his pension.
Rudy: Look, Bill, I’m not here to talk about Timoney, who by the way is doing a terrific job in Miami. I came out here to Los Angeles to …
Bratton: And then what Safir did to Timoney’s buddy, McShane! Because McShane organized Timoney’s retirement party at the Hilton, Safir buried him in the Traffic Department for the next four years.
Rudy: Howard never said anything to me about that.
Bratton: There’s a lot Howard never said to you. How about how he said to the New York Times that I was “some airport cop from Boston”?
Rudy: Howard said that?
Bratton: You were with him when he said it.
Rudy: Well, Bill, one thing I’ve come to realize is that we’ve got to let bygones be bygones.
Bratton: And then Safir went out to Hollywood and appeared on NYPD Blue, playing himself, and you never said a word. You also never said a word when he ducked the city council hearing after the Diallo shooting. That’s 41 bullets, Rudy.That shooting wouldn’t have happened if I had still been police commissioner. No, Safir flew out to Hollywood to attend the Oscars on the Revlon plane. Then he allowed Revlon to comp him for his hotel.”
Rudy: I admit, sometimes Howard isn’t the brightest.
Bratton: Yes, but then you called him “The greatest police commissioner in the history of the city.”
Rudy: I think you may have taken that a little too personally, Bill. Look, I came out here to Los Angeles to …
Bratton: And what about Jack Maple? He did more to reduce crime than anyone in the city and you and Safir fired him. Then you came and sat in the first row at St.Pat’s for his funeral and even had the nerve to give the eulogy.
Rudy: Bill, Bill, all that’s water under dam. That all happened before 9/11. Everything’s different now. People change. They grow. Look at me.
Bratton: Speaking of 9/11, what about the book Bernie Kerik wrote while he was police commissioner? He was even writing it as 9/11 occurred. He then used confidential NYPD photos of Ground Zero. You never said a word about that either.
Rudy: Bill, as I said, the world has changed since 9/11.. The political landscape has changed. I’ve changed. Now, the reason I came out here to Los Angeles is to ask you….
Bratton: Let me stop you right there, Rudy. I am not interested in the job of heading the FBI.
Rudy: The FBI? Look, Bill, I don’t want to beat around the bush. I want your support. I need your advice. I need your guidance.
Bratton: My support? My advice? My guidance? For what?
Rudy: For Ray Kelly.
Bratton: What? You want him to head the FBI?
Rudy: He hates me, Bill.
Bratton: He hates everybody.
Rudy: He bad-mouthed me about 9/11. He spent four hours at the Harvard Club, telling Wayne Barrett I failed to prepare the city.
Bratton: I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Kelly hates everyone.
Rudy: But I can’t have him saying that about me, Bill. What did I ever do to him?
Bratton: Well, you did fire him.
Rudy: I did? When was that?
Bratton: When you hired me.
Rudy: You think? Well, did you see what a big deal his people made of that cockamie plot to behead him by that psycho inmate in Rikers. I couldn’t believe both the News and the Post played it on Page One. How could anyone be dumb enough to believe he’d be able from inside Riker’s to raise $150,000 to hire a hit man?
Bratton: Go figure. Only in New York.
Rudy: Now I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone, Bill. My sources in the department — I still have plenty of them — say lower level detectives in on the plot investigation believed the whole thing was bull. But people higher up pushed them to make the case. And do you know why?
Bratton: Sure, because Kelly’s running for mayor and this will make him look noble.
Rudy: Not just that. They want to create sympathy for him because indictments may be coming down in the Sean Bell shooting.
Bratton: That was 50 bullets, Rudy. Believe me, if I had been commissioner, that would never have happened.
Rudy: And they can also justify having his detective detail driving Mrs. Kelly around the city, saying she needs protection. Come to think of it, I’d like to use that, about his wife. If I have to.
Bratton: I think I might be careful of that, if I were you. Who do you think Kelly got the idea from about using his detective detail to chauffeur his wife? Remember when you were mayor, you had your detail driving around your then mistress, Judy Nathan.
Rudy: By the way, Bill, I hear Kelly doesn’t like you either.
Rudy: I hear he never forgave you for taking his job as police commissioner. But, hey, look, the question for me now is, what do you think I should do in my position, running for president? I want you to tell me the truth, Bill. Give it to me straight.
Bratton: Well, Rudy, the truth is, there’s nothing more important than your family, than having a happy marriage. Take me and Ricki.
Rudy: I saw her on Court T.V. She’s a stunner. And smart.
Rudy: Yeah, yeah. So’s Judy. But what advice do you have for me?
Bratton: Make up with Andrew and Caroline.
Copyright © 2007 Leonard Levitt