One Police Plaza

More Woe For Bernie

April 13, 2015

Since his release from federal prison, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik can’t catch a break.

Rudy Giuliani won’t take his calls. His lawsuit against his former attorney, Joe Tacopina, seems to be going south. And the feds are breaking his chops by not allowing him to leave the country so that he can drum up some Middle East business, maybe in Jordan.

With all else having failed, Kerik has now, in the grand tradition of former NYPD commissioners, written a book that is nearly on a par with former commissioner Howard Safir’s 2003 masterwork, “Security: Policing Your Homeland, Your State, Your City,” which is in the running for possibly the worst book ever written.

Kerik’s book is called “From Jailer to Jailed.” Remember that, before Giuliani appointed him NYPD commissioner, he appointed Kerik Corrections Commissioner. Remember, too, the Bernard B. Kerik Complex, better known as the Tombs (the Manhattan Detention Complex.) Kerik’s name was stripped from the complex by Mayor Michael Bloomberg a day after Kerik pleaded guilty in Bronx State Supreme Court to accepting $165,000 in home renovations from a contractor and failing to report a $28,000 loan from a real estate developer. He ended up serving three years in federal prison for basically the same charges plus lying to White House officials who were vetting him for the job of Director of Homeland Security.

Last week, the Daily News excerpted his book, which began with a lament that, by refusing to take his phone calls, Giuliani had forsaken his promise to act as godfather to Kerik’s daughters.

And more trouble looms for Bernie. It comes from the woman, known to readers of this column as “Bernie’s Secret Lady,” who visited him regularly in prison but whom Bernie dropped upon his release two years ago. Part therapy, part revenge, she began chronicling their relationship on her blog, DoingTimeWithBernie, which led to threats against her, apparently by Kerik cronies — i.e, former NYPD chief of staff John Picciano — which the feds seem to have taken seriously. [See NYPD Confidential, Aug. 26, 2013].

Last week, the lady blogged that the threats were continuing, though not from Picciano, who is in the wind. “Yes, the 40th NYPD Commissioner threatens and harasses me, through a seedy harem of bitches, seemingly to intimidate me into abandoning my freedom of speech and rights to the words I’ve written for him in his new book. [They] employ the eight (sic) grade tactics of sub-tweeting lies thinking they are ruining my reputation. Or they set up phone lines to divulge my personal information to strangers.”

There’s more. Last week, she wrote, “Since Bernard Kerik and I had co-written portions of this book while he was incarcerated, I and my legal counsel have a special interest in its contents as I understand that Bernie is using my work product, talking points etc. WITHOUT my permission, credit or compensation. Stay tuned on that one….”

THE POST’S TROUBLING SOURCES. Top NY Post editor Col Allan finally reached the breaking point with police reporter Larry Celona.

Allan “exploded with rage” when he discovered Celona hadn’t contacted the NYPD’s public information office before he reported that Commissioner Bill Bratton had stormed out of City Hall after a top mayoral deputy refused to authorize the hiring of 1,000 more cops.

According to “sources,” Celona then threatened to go over Allan’s head, saying: “If you publicly attack me, I’ll go to Rupert Murdoch.”

But Allan, say these sources, “refused to back down,” telling Celona, “You don’t work for Rupert Murdoch. You work for me.”

According to “multiple sources,” Allan then cautioned Celona that Murdoch hasn’t been himself recently: “Ever since he learned that Tony Blair [the former British Prime Minister] was shagging Rupert’s wife, Wendy Deng.” According to Wikipedia, “shagging” is British slang for sexual intercourse.

Now let’s get real. Did the above conversation between Allan and Celona actually occur? It did not.

Rather, the Allan-Celona contretemps resembles the Post’s unattributed stories about Bratton and the mayoral deputy — as well as its story last November, also with Celona’s byline and no attribution — that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, said to the mayor of Bratton: “I told you we can’t trust him.”

Every police reporter relies on unnamed sources. Without them, there’d be virtually no exposure of police misconduct or corruption. But the practice can be troubling if the reporter’s newspaper has an agenda, as the Post does.

Both Bratton and de Blasio have vigorously denied the Post stories. Bratton was so exercised about Celona’s most recent one that he said at a news conference, “There’s not a single factual item in that story.”

He added, “I’m the police commissioner of the city of New York and I say that meeting never happened. If the Post is so convinced it did happen, I would categorically say their sources are lying.”

Bratton even questioned whether the sources exist. “They have no sources,” he said. “They don’t even reference them as law enforcement sources.”

So who should readers believe? Bratton, or Celona and the Post? An unscientific poll conducted by this reporter revealed that most in-house reporters at Police Plaza came down on the side of Bratton. [Three Post reporters at Police Plaza declined to comment.]

Celona did not respond to an email. Post editor-in chief Allan could not be reached for comment, a person answering the phone at the Post’s city desk, saying to this reporter, “We don’t disturb him or his secretary with these calls.”


Copyright © 2015 Leonard Levitt