One Police Plaza

The Bernie Kerik Charity Fund?

November 20, 2006

Authorities have subpoenaed the publisher HarperCollins, seeking records of payments to Bernard Kerik in what appears to be a widening probe of the former police commissioner, sources say.

This is at least the second time the government has subpoenaed Kerik’s financial records.

This time, sources say, authorities are seeking information on his royalty payments for a book of photographs about 9/11 entitled “In The Line of Duty.”

The book was published in 2001 by the HarperCollins imprint ReganBooks, which stated on its cover that it would donate all revenues — an estimated $500,000 — to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund.

ReganBooks is headed by Judith Regan, who in 2001 also published Kerik’s autobiography, “The Lost Son,” while conducting an affair with Kerik.

Kerik and former fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen each wrote forwards to “In The Line of Duty.” Von Essen donated his royalties to charity.

But there appear to be questions about where Kerik’s money went.

A previously published report stated that his royalties — which totaled over $75,000 — did not go to charity but to a company he established under the name Gryphon Strategic Group.

Former Daily News investigative reporter Russ Buettner reported in March 2005 that Kerik’s checks from HarperCollins were mailed to Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm of the former mayor, where Kerik was then working.

Giuliani announced last week he has taken preliminary steps to seek the presidency.

Last month, this column reported that Michael Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District, had subpoenaed the records of police captain Sean Crowley’s tax business, Crowley and Sons. Crowley had served as Kerik’s accountant for his personal tax returns for the years 2001 and 2002.

Crowley, who led Kerik’s security detail, currently heads the Manhattan District Attorney’s squad of police detectives.

Neither Regan nor Mark Jackson, an attorney for HarperCollins, returned messages seeking comment.

Kerik also did not return a message.

Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for Garcia, declined comment, saying it was office policy neither to confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

Kerik’s attorney, Joe Tacopina said, “They can look at whatever they want regarding Bernie’s agreement with HarperCollins. There is nothing to hide and no concerns whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, Up In the Bronx. Tomorrow, two of Kerik’s friends — or more likely, former friends — the brothers Frank and Peter DiTommaso are due in Bronx State Supreme Court.

The DiTommasos denied to a Bronx grand jury investigating Kerik that their New Jersey-based Interstate Industrial Corporation had paid $165,000 to renovate Kerik’s apartment in 1999 and 2000.

Last summer Kerik pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts. In pleading guilty, he testified that Interstate had paid for the renovations to his apartment.

The DiTommasos were then indicted for perjury.

Ray Kelly in Buff-Land.
Fresh from his “Presidential Excellence and Diversity Award” award from the Sepia Skin Care company, where he shared center stage with the rapper Sean [P.Diddy] Combs, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is to receive another award next week.

This one — the “Law Enforcement Leadership Award” — comes from the New York Law Enforcement Foundation, which is headed by a true prince of Buff-land, Master Reginald Ward.

Despite the title of deputy commissioner for technology of Mount Vernon, NY, Ward is the unofficial head of that town’s police department

In that capacity, he has installed cronies throughout the small force, then forced out a chief who objected — whom he himself had recruited.

Such was the case of former Chief Gertrude LaForgia, one of the NYPD’s highest-ranked females. Ward recruited her in 1998 to head the Mount Vernon department. Three years later he forced her out after she refused to promote one of his buds who she said was unqualified.

Around the same time, Ward hired Stephen Alster to revamp the department’s computer system. Alster was later found guilty in a civil suit of sexually harassing Mount Vernon police officer Karyn Addison. She was awarded $75,000. As Alster’s supervisor, Ward was found not guilty of failing to protect her.

In 2002, Alster was convicted of detonating a pipe bomb outside the Brooklyn apartment of NYPD rookie cop Yensey Thomas, with whom he was said to be infatuated. He was sentenced to 20 years.

There was a time Kelly was sensitive to the company he kept. Very sensitive.

In 2003, he refused to attend the annual dinner of another buff group, The Finest Foundation, because it had sold tickets offering a $50,000 “Commissioner’s Package.” At the time Kelly said this implied that access to him could be purchased.

So why is Kelly, with all his accomplishments as commissioner, willing to be feted by people he normally would ignore? Has his ego become so inflated that it is affecting his formerly razor-sharp judgment?

Neither Ward nor Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne returned phone calls last week seeking an explanation.

You Go, Garry.
No one on former deputy commissioner Garry McCarthy’s committee would sell Your Humble Servant a ticket so we attended his retirement dinner in spirit.

We can report the following:

Bullet Hundreds of people attended, including Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker, who recently appointed McCarthy police director, despite his having been arrested by Palisades Parkway police after he lost control himself while protesting a parking ticket issued to his teenage daughter.

Bullet Also attending was Commissioner Kelly, who actually stuck around long enough to make a speech.

Bullet McCarthy’s wife Gina, who was arrested with McCarty in the parking ticket fracas and charged with “unreasonable noise,” looked heavenly in a halter dress, while repeatedly leaping to her feet and clasping her hands in the air as Garry acknowledged her support.

Bullet McCarthy spoke for about 30 minutes, ending with a warning: avoid the Palisades Parkway.