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Friday, June 30, 2006

You did a heck of a job Bernie

The fall from grace is now complete.
Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, pleaded guilty today to two misdemeanor charges as the result of accepting tens of thousands of dollars of gifts and a loan while he was a city official in the late 1990's.

He entered the pleas, one to a violation of the city charter and the other of the city administrative code, in a Bronx courtroom before Justice John P. Collins and was sentenced to a total of $221,000 in fines. He was accompanied by three lawyers and three supporters for the proceeding, which lasted about 10 minutes.

Speaking in a quiet voice, Mr. Kerik admitted that he had accepted renovations to his Bronx apartment from a company he believed to be "clean."

Justice Collins acknowledged Mr. Kerik's past career. "The court recognizes the contributions made by Bernard Kerik, particularly on Sept. 11, 2001, and the days after. Still, the defendant has violated the law for personal gain."


The pleas completed a stunning fall from grace for a public official who rose in a decade's time from a third-grade police detective to police commissioner and a nomination as secretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Kerik accepted the subsidized work on his Bronx apartment in the late 1990's, while he was correction commissioner under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to investigators.

Investigators said Mr. Kerik paid about $30,000 for renovations worth about $200,000, a violation of the city's administrative code. The work was performed by an affiliate of a construction company that the city has accused of having ties to organized crime.

The company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, had sought Mr. Kerik's assistance in obtaining a license from the city to operate a construction debris transfer station and held meetings in Mr. Kerik's office. The license was ultimately not granted.

One of Mr. Kerik's pleas was for accepting the gift of the subsidized remodeling. The other was for failing to report a loan of $29,000 from a friend for a down payment on the apartment.

Mr. Kerik, a former driver and bodyguard for Mr. Giuliani while he was campaigning for mayor, was named police commissioner in 2000 and held that post on Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked.

On the basis of his performance then, President Bush nominated him to be the head of the Homeland Security Department in December 2004. But he withdrew a week later, citing possible tax problems related to the family's nanny.

I'm sure Judith is proud of you.