For a bald, overweight, mustached cop, Bernie Kerik sure got showered with gifts like an 18-year-old concubine. At least that’s the picture emerging from his indictment papers. Today’s Times focuses on a mysterious $250,000 loan from a “wealthy Israeli industrialist” (whom the paper fingers as Eitan Wertheimer, part of Israel’s richest family). We’re more intrigued by the “real estate developer Steven C. Witkoff, who paid more than $236,000 in rent for Mr. Kerik from 2001 to 2003.” Hang on a second — that’s $118,000 in rent a year, which translates to just under ten grand a month. Nice! And that, we’d like to add, is not counting another specially procured apartment of which Kerik had famously availed himself over the same period: a little two-bedroom number with a view of ground zero. —Michael IdovKerik Loan Activity Is Brought to Light After Indictment [NYT]
Today's Observer story on the Judith Regan lawsuit offers a good peek into the former publishing magnate's thought process as she tries to take down HarperCollins, Jane Friedman, Rupert Murdoch, and even Rudy Giuliani. The salmon paper reveals that at the start of all of this, the wannabe If I Did It publisher was offered $6.5 million to settle, but she turned it down. They even talk to Judith herself! Her quotes are actually sort of tepid and unrelated to the case, which makes sense, as she's probably banned by her lawyers from talking about it. But there are a lot of quotes by people who are "familiar" with her thinking and with the lawsuit. So let's play a game! Which of the below quotes from unnamed "sources" are actually from Regan herself, dementedly speaking in the third person?
• "The men don't want a woman who can outshine them," one source with knowledge of Ms. Regan's thinking told the Observer. "They want women who can look up to them and bat their eyelashes. But honestly? She was more interesting than they were. She had a better life. She had more creativity. Men want to be on top."
• Stan O'Neal wasn't invited to a big Merrill Lynch reunion party thrown by Evelyn Juan, the son of a Merrill founder. Guess Stan will just have to drink himself to sleep in his board-provided office. [DealBreaker]
• Goldman's unbelievable success is forcing all the other top banks to dig deep into the honey pot and pay out a record-setting $38 billion in bonuses, despite losing $74 billion in market value. Goldman, of course, accounts for almost half of the bonus pool. Let's just say it's good to be Goldman. [Deal Journal/WSJ, Bloomberg]
• Steve Schwarzman spared no expense for his son's wedding and the tab ran to $150,000, including a $20,000 BBQ supper, $7,000 for drinks, and $50,000 to rent an entire hotel and keep the riffraff out. Still pales in comparison to Schwarzman's $3 million birthday bash. [NYP]
Hey everybody! Have a nice weekend? Get some rest? Watch a football game? Good for you. Unfortunately, not all of us had such a great time. Jeanine and Al Pirro let slip that they are getting a divorce. You remember Al and Jeanine — he was the guy who sabotaged his wife's political ambitions by earning a tax-evasion conviction and fathering a love child, and she was the one who was caught on tape asking Bernie Kerik to bug her husband's yacht to catch him philandering? Hm. Maybe it wasn't so much that the pair had a bad weekend — more like they've had a bad decade or so. Former Westchester D.A. Jeanine failed in her runs for U.S. senator, lieutenant governor, and state attorney general, and real-estate broker Al spent over a year in the clink, starting in 2000. It looks like their divorce has already been hashed out so at least this part might run smoothly, though All-Purpose Divorce Spokesman Raoul Felder claims "it's mutually assured destruction" (Felder, of course, represents neither party). It's times like these, when tabloid superstars hit rock bottom, that we turn to the one name we can trust: Cindy Adams. What does Lady C, who was pals with both parties, have to say about the Pirros' great love?
By now everyone in the world knows that Judith Regan, the ex-publisher who almost brought you O.J.’s If I Did It, is suing her former bosses at HarperCollins; it’s all a part of her professed desire to make her life “smaller, not bigger.” (Also part of the spotlight-reducing plan: recording a cover of “My Way,” writing about it in Harper’s Bazaar, and sending an mp3 of it to Gawker.) But it turns out the lawsuit might have implications beyond the publishing beehive. At issue is Regan’s much-documented affair with Bernie Kerik, infamously conducted atop the Shroud of Turin in an apartment near ground zero reserved for first responders.
Don’t worry about that little Kerik corruption indictment; it won’t have any effect on the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani. Or at least that’s the political calculation of William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, brief candidate for New York governor and now lawyer. “I don’t think it sticks to Rudy,” Weld told us last night at the Atlantic Monthly 150th anniversary party. And just why might a federal indictment charges of the former bodyguard Giuliani appointed to police commissioner (the job detail: keep Americans safe) and then recommend for the national post of Homeland Security director (job detail: keep Americans safe) give us a reason to question Giuliani’s judgment? Weld’s response: “I don’t think anyone is ever going to believe that Rudy Giuliani has a corrupt bone in his body. I'm sure people will cavil, but I don’t think they really should. I was with Rudy in the Justice Department and he’s the straightest guy that ever walked.” And this from a guy who's rooting for Romney.—Geoffrey Gray
Bernie Kerik surrendered this morning to federal officials after his indictment yesterday on corruption charges. And, the Daily News reports, Rudy Giuliani is already dodging questions over whether, as president, he'd pardon his old friend:
"It wouldn't be fair to ask that question at this point," the Republican presidential hopeful said in an exclusive interview in Dubuque, Iowa, just hours before Kerik was indicted in New York.
"He may or may not be charged, he may or may not be convicted. Who knows what happens?"
Makes sense, sure, but that won't fly with voters — or Democratic hecklers, who are hoping Kerik's grime will tarnish everything Giuliani says from now on.
Today's Daily News chronicles Rudy Giuliani's admirable refusal to distance himself from Bernie Kerik: "Sure, there were issues," shrugged the Republican front-runner (we'd say: Kerik is facing federal indictment), before praising Bernie's crime-reduction record. Seriously, people, that's integrity. Hillary Clinton, at this point, would have gone glassy-eyed and said she'd never met the guy. Which makes it all the more surprising that, immediately after defending a thoroughly tainted pal, Rudy blew up at a comparatively innocuous question: Would he release the Bracewell & Giuliani and Giuliani Partners' client lists? "Nobody has ever accused them of doing anything wrong," he repeated. Actually, the News points out, at issue here is not any wrongdoing but basic conflicts of interest. For instance, Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy's law firm, used to represent Citgo, which is owned by oh, no Venezuela.
Rudy Giuliani has hired a legal bulldog to keep him protected from any involvement in the federal case against his former ally Bernard Kerik, reports the Post. The lawyer, a partner at his firm Giuliani & Bracewell, is named Marc Mukasey — yeah, that's right: the dapper young son of soon-to-be U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The younger Mukasey is charged with the task of making sure that Kerik's potential bribery and tax-fraud indictments don't wound the Giuliani campaign. So far, Mukasey has earned his keep by blocking Kerik defense attorneys from talking to former Giuliani aides – basically hamstringing the former NYPD chief's efforts to defend himself. This is an aggressive move for Giuliani, who the paper reports in the past has remained supportive of Kerik even though Kerik has cost him political capital. The point of hiring Mukasey was to make it look like Giuliani didn't know anything about Kerik's alleged activities, but we just took a look at Mukasey's page on his firm Website.
• As Mayor Bloomberg continues to deny that he's running for president, the Times reports that his top aides have been testing that scenario for the last two years. Just a coincidence! [NYT]
• With mere hours left until the legislative session ends, Governor Spitzer is leaning on Shelly Silver to consider congestion pricing. Spitzer's bold step: to "discuss creating a commission of experts." Ooh, effective! [NYS]
• In Episode 4,387 of the McGreevey soap opera, the ex-gov filed new papers with a New Jersey family court — to dismiss Dina Matos's charge that his coming-out had traumatized their daughter. [NYP]
• Despite some politicians' calls for a rent freeze, the Rent Guidelines Board has recommended increases "between 2 and 4.5 percent" (in other words, 4.5 percent) on New York's stabilized apartments. [amNY]
• And a guy goes on the lam for violating probation, gets tracked down by U.S. marshals right here in Manhattan, fights the arrest, breaks his arm, and goes to jail. That the guy is a close friend of Bernard Kerik's shouldn't be much of a shock. [NYDN]
• Clipper Equity's ingenious PR notwithstanding, the would-be Starrett City buyer was thwarted again. On Saturday, the state's Housing Commissioner rejected the firm's second bid for the complex, concerned with the group's poor track record in the area. [TheStreet.com]
• A blaze in a Bronx apartment building injured 53 people by AM New York's count (the Post has the number at 41), including 14 firefighters. The three-alarm fire began on the first floor and quickly spread up and out through hallways. [amNY, NYP]
• Barack Obama (who evidently can't just come to a city; he either "swings through" or "invades" it) is back in New York for more fund-raising. He'll hang at a couple of good addresses before stopping by the Letterman show. Obama's previous New York City take is estimated at $3 million. [NYDN]
• Bush knew. About Bernie Kerik's past, that is, when NYC's then-top cop was nominated to head Homeland Security. Thus, the doomed pick could have been a purely political gesture. Oh, and Alberto Gonzales had a hand in it, too. [NYP]
• And East Hampton becomes a two-newspaper town: The Press, an import from one town over, is taking on the 122-year-old local institution the Star (as New York reported last month). Get ready for war. [NYT]
• The grand jury in the Sean Bell 50-bullet shooting case is about to start deliberations; there's a fear that, should it fail to indict the cops, some unrest may erupt. You know things are shaky because Bloomberg found the time for an Al Sharpton meet-and-greet. [amNY]
• In the meantime, a police shootout in Harlem ended with a plainclothes officer wounded and the suspect dead. (In a separate incident, two other officers were slashed with a knife while serving a subpoena.) No justification of the Bell business implied, but … a tough job, this. [WNBC]
• Since we're apparently the kind of city where people punch 85-year-old women in the face, we might need a special law against punching 85-year-old women in the face. A new Albany proposal suggests a penalty hike for attacking anyone over 70. [NYP]
• The Health Department may deny that it's been on a rampage ever since the rat video, but even the Times cites the "furious pace" of closings: 94 places shut down in twelve days. [NYT]
• And, Bernie Kerik has rejected a deal with the Feds that included him doing some light time for his impressive litany of still-alleged transgressions: tax fraud, conspiracy to eavesdrop (hi Jeanine!), and mortgage fraud. So, on to a trial then? Excellent. [NYDN]