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Kerik to testify at trial, re-opening shady past with Clifton-based contractors

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

SPECIAL REPORT: Sometime next month, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik will be sprung from a federal penitentiary – not to go home to Franklin Lakes but to testify, under armed guard, at the perjury trial of two former friends whose Clifton-based contracting business played a prominent role in his fall from grace.

Bernard Kerik (CLIFFVIEW PILOT exclusive photos)

Federal prosecutors say Frank and Peter DiTommaso lied when they told a grand jury that their Interstate Industrial Corporation didn’t do free renovations on Kerik’s Riverdale (Bronx) apartment.

Kerik contradicted that testimony when he pleaded guilty three years ago to not reporting the $255,000 gift to the IRS (companies seeking to do business with New York City are prohibited from such work) and with lying to the White House when he was being vetted for the Homeland Security job.

Perjury charges against the brothers followed.

The trial in State Supreme Court in the Bronx will revisit a tumultuous period that saw the highly respected Kerik — a Paterson native and former Passaic County Jail warden –lose his nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

A pair of former UMass football players, the DiTommasos grew up on Staten Island. They were only in their 20s when, following in their father’s footsteps, they opened their own construction business.

Kerik in his Franklin Lakes home office

They quickly ended up on the FBI’s radar after buying a dirt transfer station on the island from its mob-connected owner, Edward Garafola, brother-in-law of notorious Gambino underboss-turned-informant Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano.

Problems followed, with New Jersey authorities holding up their license to work Atlantic City casino jobs while drawing purported connections to the Gambino and DeCavalcante crime families (The licenses were later granted).

Travels with Bernie: Court of public opinion clears Kerik
Sunday, 25 October 2009 14:45 Jerry DeMarco

EXCLUSIVE: “Bernie” Kerik and I talked several times this summer, including formal interviews at his Franklin Lakes home, phone conversations and private chats online. We attended the funeral of a Jersey City police officer, then shared breakfast in a Hudson County diner. In that time, I came to see him as one of the most fascinating characters in recent American history. READ MORE….

Overseeing the transfer station deal was one of Interstate’s newer hires: Kerik’s brother.

Frank DiTommaso also hired lawyer Lawrence Ray, the best man at Kerik’s wedding to Hala.

In 2000, several months after the renovation work was done, Ray and Garafola were among nearly 20 people indicted in a mob-run, $40 million stock-fraud scheme.

Kerik became police commissioner that summer. Ray said he sought Kerik’s help with the stock-fraud charges and was denied. Their relationship ended.

Kerik on his front porch with 2 of his guard dogs

Kerik said he withdrew his name from consideration for the Homeland Security post because a nanny who worked in his Franklin Lakes home apparently was undocumented. But other problems surfaced, including Interstate’s work on his uptown apartment.

Kerik will soon have a year left on his 27-to-33-month sentence. His appeals had held up the DiTommasos’ trial, but those have been exhausted.

Kerik tarnished a stellar 30-year career through what he freely admits was a clear error in judgment.

“The prosecutor in this case brought the charges because of who I am,” Kerik told CLIFFVIEW PILOT three years ago at his home, before pleading guilty.

“It’s disappointing and upsetting that someone can take 30 years of unparalleled service to his country, dedicated service to his country, and then place a cloud over it with the appearance that everything you’ve ever done is wrong,” he said at the time.

And while it may seem to some that he’s no longer around, Kerik has been known to tweet and post Facebook messages from the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., in violation of federal prohibitions.

Kerik, seething at prosecutors, now awaits trial in jail
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 16:32 Jerry DeMarco

EXCLUSIVE: During the talks I had with former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik in recent months, he made no secret of his contempt for those he said are aiming to disgrace him. “The prosecutor in this case brought the charges because of who I am,” he told me during one of my stops to his Franklin Lakes home earlier this year. “The best way to deal with it now is to go to trial,” Kerik told me.But he took it further, giving one of his attorneys confidential documents that were posted on his defense site in violation of a consent order. READ MORE….

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