Here Are Some Predictions for the Year 2010
January 4, 2010
JANUARY. A scowling Ray Kelly summons his closest aide, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne, who suspects the boss’s foul mood began after newspapers and television stations stopped interviewing him about the would-be Detroit airplane bomber from Nigeria. Browne also fears Kelly may have been upset by FBI Director Robert Mueller’s phone call on New Year’s Day, complaining that Kelly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Commissioner Michael Farrell have, yet again, distorted FBI statistics to proclaim New York as “America’s Safest Large City.” But Browne is wrong. Kelly is angry because the New York Times’ Sunday Metropolitan section of Dec. 26 featured retired detective Nick Casale, Bernie Madoff’s former bodyguard, and ran five color photos of him. Kelly points out to Browne that in the Times’ Aug. 30 article about Kelly’s wardrobe, where he was photographed tying his purple Charvet tie into a Windsor knot — “the way his father taught him,” the caption read — the Times ran only two pictures. “Am I or am I not the number one police official in New York City?” says Kelly, adding, “Paul, I think you have some explaining to do.” Says Browne, “I’ll see what’s going on.”
FEBRUARY. As Bernard Kerik enters federal prison, three men accompany him to the gate: his former aide, John Picciano; his former attorney Joe Tacopina; and his former partner and bodyguard, Hector Santiago. “Despite what you think, Bernie, I did not rat you out to the feds after you lied to me about the renovations to your apartment,” Tacopina says. Kerik anwers, “Joe, you and I are like brothers.” Kerik consoles Santiago, who, after apparently reading “A Tale of Two Cities,” tried unsuccessfully to “take one for the boss” by serving as Kerik’s substitute in the slammer. “Hector,” says Kerik, “you and I are like brothers.” Echoing John Gotti, Kerik tells a weeping Picciano, “Be strong, John. I promise we can still do that $10 million security deal with Rudy in Brazil.”
MARCH. The Police Department postpones its press card renewals because Kelly refuses to accredit Ashley Dupré, the retired call girl for former governor Eliot Spitzer, who is now the Post’s “advice” columnist. Fearing police corruption, Kelly orders Browne to secure a promise from Post editor Col Allan that Dupré will never attempt to cross police lines. Allan merely laughs.
APRIL. The Police Foundation postpones its annual fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria when tensions flare between chairwoman Valerie Salembier and Kelly’s wife, Veronica. Sources at the foundation say the tensions stem from last year’s fundraiser when Veronica’s role was limited to selecting the floral arrangements for each table. Apparently feeling under-appreciated, the commissioner’s wife told executive director Pam Delaney, “I can do your job.” Kelly then cut Delaney’s salary and forced her to retire. Sources say Veronica was recently overheard telling Salembier, “I can also do your job.”
MAY. Paul Browne reports to Kelly that he has made no progress on the Casale or Ashley Dupré matters. Even worse, he says the Times is preparing a story in the Sunday Metropolitan section on Col Allan. “Certain people say I am the greatest police commissioner in the city’s history,” Kelly tells Browne, adding, “Paul, you’ve got more explaining to do.“ Says Browne: “I’ll see what’s going on.”
JUNE. Michael Bloomberg personally flies former police commissioner Bill Bratton and his wife Ricki on his private jet to the mayor’s Bermuda hideout. During the trip, Bloomberg brings up Bratton’s agent, Ed Hayes, then asks if Bratton is really “the foremost law enforcement figure in the country of the past century.” Bratton wonders if Bloomberg is being cute as those were Hayes’ exact words when Bratton served as the city’s 38th police commissioner.
Bratton then considers asking Bloomberg whether he is aware that Kelly’s flight with Regis Philbin to South Bend, Indiana on Philbin’s private jet for the Notre Dame-USC football game on Oct. 17 violated ethical guidelines, which state that city employees cannot accept gratuities or gifts valued at more than $50. Kelly, meanwhile, orders Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen to investigate what Bloomberg and Bratton have been saying about him. Cohen says he doesn’t have the manpower. He says that other than the contingent from the Hispanic Society, all Intel detectives are investigating the would-be Detroit plane bomber from Nigeria, searching for an angle so that Kelly can be interviewed on television again.
JULY. After visiting Kerik in prison, Geraldo Rivera reports, “A true American hero is a victim of a miscarriage of justice.” Apparently buoyed by his recent interview with Playgirl magazine, which purchased pictures that Kerik posted on the internet of his newly buff physique, Kerik says: “Geraldo and I are like brothers.”
AUGUST. The Police Foundation reschedules its Waldorf fundraising dinner for October. Salembier says that, contrary to media reports, she and Veronica “are like sisters,” adding that besides selecting the floral arrangements, the commissioner’s wife will serve as dinner sommelier. Says Salembier: “I believe her role should be commensurate with her abilities.”
SEPTEMBER. The police department announces new procedures in its press card renewal policy. Reporters will now have to appear before a Press Board, comprised of Browne and two other arbiters of right and wrong, Lieu. Eugene Whyte and Sgt. Kevin Hayes. Special attention will be given to past articles that Browne says “distort history by praising Rudy Giuliani or Bill Bratton.” Browne cites a recent Daily News editorial that described “Kelly’s remarkable achievement” in reducing the number of homicides to below 500. “Unfortunately,” says Browne, “the editorial added that the decline ‘followed Giuliani’s and Bratton’s no-nonsense policing strategy.’”
OCTOBER. The Police Foundation holds its gala at the Waldorf. Veronica Kelly serves as hatcheck girl.
NOVEMBER. Kelly forces Salembier to retire as Police Foundation chairwoman. In what police historian Thomas Reppetto describes as “an unusual but not unprecedented” arrangement, Post “advice” columnist Ashley Dupré is granted a press card amidst reports that Kelly has asked Col Allan to introduce her to Paul Browne — “to soften his image,” Kelly explains.
DECEMBER. Sarah Palin and former Corrections Officer Jeanette Pineiro, the “other” woman with Judith Regan in Kerik’s Battery Park City love nest apartment overlooking Ground Zero, each visit Kerik in prison. Interviewed by Geraldo, Pineiro calls Kerik “the warmest, kindest, most generous man in the world.” Asked whether he may work with Palin in politics, Kerik tells Geraldo, “Sarah and I are like brother and sister.”
Copyright © 2010 Leonard Levitt