Bernie’s a Bad Boy

Remember Bernie Kerik, the ethics-challenged former New York City police commissioner who was chosen by President Bush to be Director of Homeland Security? He’s in the news again. William Rashbaum writes in today’s New York Times that Bernie is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in apparent bribes from a construction company when Bernie was NYC correction commissioner in the late 1990s. Even better, the construction company is associated with organized crime.

Wow, that Dubya sure knows how to pick ’em.

These accusations emerged during the uproar following Kerik’s withdrawal from nomination, although most of that uproar focused on Kerik’s extramarital adventures. But some New Jersey officials were paying attention. Yesterday the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement filed papers with the state Casino Control Commission to stop the construction company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, from doing work on Atlantic City casinos. The New Jersey officials have no authority to bring charges against Kerik, but he is featured prominently in the accusations nonetheless. For example:

The agency officials said yesterday that Interstate paid another contractor for renovations worth more than $200,000 made to Mr. Kerik’s apartment in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in 1999 and 2000.

Mr. Kerik, who is now a consultant to the government of Jordan, could not be reached yesterday.

A lawyer for him, Joseph Tacopina, said that Mr. Kerik was not aware that Interstate had paid for the work done on the Bronx apartment, and that he doubted that the work was as expensive as the officials said.

The officials also said that Interstate gave Mr. Kerik’s brother, Donald, an $85,000-a-year job at the same time Mr. Kerik was using his influence within New York City government to help the company win a license to operate on Staten Island.

Some of the details of Mr. Kerik’s dealings with Interstate and its owners, Frank and Peter DiTommaso, became public late in 2004 after President Bush nominated him as homeland security secretary. Mr. Kerik withdrew his name, citing possible tax problems involving his family’s nanny.

So Bernie’s not facing charges, yet. But the Bronx district attorney is looking at him real hard

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