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2:15 PM

The State Politic 

Room for Rudy in Kerik's Closet

So this is how Rudy's loyalty is to be rewarded.

Two years ago, when Bernie Kerik's nomination to be chief of Homeland Security collapsed from a barrage of allegations about mistresses, misappropriations, mob ties, and missing nannies, Rudy Giuliani at first stood by his friend. Two weeks passed before the former mayor accepted Kerik's resignation from Giuliani Partners, which made some sense, given that Giuliani essentially created Kerik as a public figure, promoting him from driver to corrections chief to police commissioner.

Giuliani had no such bonds with Jeanine Pirro, and he ditched the histrionic AG candidate with blinding speed, pulling out of a fund-raiser moments after Pirro's bizarre I-didn't-bug-the-bastard press conference ended. But even though Pirro would seem to be the biggest loser at the moment, the pol who could ultimately suffer the most damage from Typhoid Bernie is Giuliani. The Daily News reports today that Kerik enlisted at least one spook who worked for Giuliani Partners to trail Al Pirro. The investigator was "moonlighting," says a Giuliani source.

Fine. The current mess is still a reminder that the former mayor's lucrative consulting firm could be a serious liability if he runs for president. Wayne Barrett's book Grand Illusion has done the best job of detailing the far-flung operations of Giuliani Partners, but the firm remains an underexplored story.

When Kerik quit in December 2004, Giuliani Partners renamed one division — Giuliani-Kerik LLC became Giuliani Safety & Security. When Kerik needed a gumshoe to track Al Pirro, he apparently turned to a guy who worked for Giuliani Safety & Security. The tabloids may be occupied with "stunning" "gal pals" at the moment. But from his years as a prosecutor, Giuliani surely knows one iron law about tapes and leaks: There are always more.

Chris Smith