NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard Levitt

Tough Times for Rudy and Bernie

March 2, 2015

Ever since former Mayor Rudy Giuliani left office in 2001, NYPD Confidential has wondered whether his final destination would be the White House or an insane asylum.

His latest pronouncement that President Barack Obama does not love his country suggests he’s heading in the direction of the latter.

“I do not believe, and this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” he said at a fundraiser for Wisconsin’s Republican governor and presidential aspirant Scott Walker. “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

Giuliani’s remarks indicate he can’t control himself — can’t control his excesses, which was how he mostly operated as mayor.

Don’t be angry at Giuliani. Pity him because of how he was brought up. As the journalist Wayne Barrett has documented, Giuliani’s father, Harold, was a leg-breaker for the mob, who spent years in prison for an armed robbery, facts Rudy has never acknowledged — at least publicly. Harold had a temper. One can only imagine the terror young Rudy faced, growing up in these circumstances. The result has been two troubled marriages [We don’t know much about his relationship with his third wife, whom he courted while mayor and while married to his second wife] and two troubled children. His home-life was apparently so unpleasant for him that he refused to take vacations, preferring to work.

Then there is Rudy’s bête noire, Bernard Bailey Kerik, Rudy’s former driver whom he appointed New York City’s 40th police commissioner. Kerik spent four years in Cumberland, Maryland, federal prison for tax fraud and lying to the White House while under consideration for Homeland Security chief. Released in October 2013, he has been under parole supervision that expires in 2016.

Since his release, he has accused his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, of secretly working against him for the feds, in particular with Elliott Jacobson and Perry Carbone, the assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecuted him.

Last year, federal Judge Loretta Preska rejected Kerik’s request for access to records related to his criminal case that involve Tacopina. However Kerik’s lawyer, Tim Parlatore, says Kerik may be able to access the records through a civil lawsuit Kerik has filed against Tacopina. “We will be subpoenaing those records shortly and then deposing Mr. Tacopina, Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Carbone.”

More recently, Preska denied Kerik’s request for an early end to his parole supervision so that he could go to Jordan and fight ISIS. Parlatore, argued in court papers that Kerik’s early release “would allow him to travel freely abroad, throughout the Middle East, specifically those countries overwhelmed by the threat of ISIS and other extremist groups.”

Equally important for Kerik, an early release would allow companies operating in the Middle East — where Kerik was sent by President George W. Bush in 2003 and where he spent years before joining the NYPD — to hire him. Parlatore has argued that companies won’t hire him while he is on supervised release.

Kerik has refused to criticize Preska but said in an email, “The system seems designed to either prolong or prevent successful re-entry back in to the community and workforce, and in many cases, forces a former offender to fail. If someone like me is having such a difficult time and cannot get relief from the court, how do we expect these young first time low level drug offenders to succeed in any way. They’re doomed to failure.”

When Kerik went to prison, Rudy cut all ties with him. So in light of his desire to fight ISIS and return to the Middle East, does Rudy think Kerik loves America more than Obama does?

Thomas Reppetto, the NYPD’s unofficial official historian, is perhaps the nation’s foremost police historian. A former detective commander in Chicago with a doctoral degree from Harvard University, his book, “The Blue Parade,” is perhaps the finest American police history ever written.

Mike Bosak, a retired NYPD sergeant with a master’s degree from Long Island University, is the NYPD’s official unofficial historian. He spent a decade researching the stories of 19th century police officers who died in the line of duty but were never recognized on the department’s Wall of Honor. In 2005, the department honored 77 police officers he discovered, together with another 23 the department’s personnel bureau found.

More recently, Bosak has taken on Reppetto, who for the past year has written a weekly column for the New York Post. Although a past admirer of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Reppetto’s columns have criticized him both for refusing to alter his broken windows philosophy of aggressive policing and for cutting back on stop-and-frisk, the policy under Ray Kelly of indiscriminately stopping groups of black and Hispanic young men, whether or not they had committed a crime.

Reppetto’s Feb. 25 column — which began: “It’s rough when a championship team seems to break down overnight ... And now it appears to be happening with the NYPD.” — so provoked Bosak that he included a “comment” in his well-read daily police newsletter.  “Thomas Reppetto,” Bosak wrote, “is a known Kelly crony and often conveys the message when Kelly wishes anonymity. Years ago Reppetto personally bragged to me about how close they are and that he talks to Ray Kelly just about every day.”

Referring to Reppetto’s Feb. 25th column, he added, “This is Raymond Kelly using Reppetto to disparage Bill Bratton, that much I am sure. Reppetto would never write a piece like this without Kelly’s encouragement or at least receiving his consent.” 

Bosak may have personal reasons for disparaging Kelly. Kelly presided at the ceremony honoring the 77 police officers that Bosak discovered. But Kelly never mentioned Bosak and instead took much of the credit.

A mayoral news release, which included the name of Kelly’s deputy commissioner for public information Paul Browne, said the officers’ names had been added to the wall “after a long and painstaking process” and that “members of the department’s Personnel Bureau examined countless documents and archival newspaper records to ascertain who may have died in the line of duty and the details surrounding their deaths.”

Bosak was consigned to a footnote.

« Back to top
Copyright © 2015 Leonard Levitt