By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
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When Assistant Inspector General Mary Koz-low tried to track down exactly where Carrique worked, she was sent to the custodian's office on the fourth floor of Borough Hall. The custodian told Kozlow that Carrique was involved in "a lot of stuff" but she wasn't sure exactly what. Koz-low was then directed to the basement of a building across the street where Carrique had another office. That building's custodian said that a couple of times a month he saw Carrique park his car by the building, place a police bubble light on the dashboard and then enter the basement. "He stays for a few minutes," the custodian told Kozlow, "and then he's gone."
Part of the time, investigators determined, Carrique was working at a real estate office called "Help U Sell Realty" on Hylan Boulevard, where he placed more than 150 calls from the cell phone. Carrique is a licensed real estate salesperson, state records show, but he never told his agency about it despite what DOI said was a major potential for conflict of interest, since DCAS handles all of the city's real estate.
Carrique never appeared for his own hearing, yet even with the overwhelming evidence, the city's hearing officer said she wasn't convinced and denied the agency's request to dismiss him. Commissioner Hirst, using her own powers, fired him anyway, a move Carrique later sought to appeal. On October 9, Carrique pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment in connection with the Toys "R" Us incident. He received a conditional discharge, promising to stay out of trouble.
Carrique didn't return any calls for this story, but he told the New York Post's Brad Hamilton in March that he was "a dedicated, conscientious employee" who "loved working for the people."
Diamond, now semi-retired in Florida, insists the episodes testified to by Castellenata never occurred and that he had nothing to do with the hiring. Carrique had called him personally on several occasions, he acknowledged, but he couldn't recall the topics. As for the cell phone, he said: "The cell phone? Oh, for Christ's sake, everyone had a cell phone. He was the Staten Island liaison. I didn't give a damn."
Those who know Carrique from Staten Island politics describe him as a doggedly loyal backer of the Molinari family who started out in the City Council campaigns of Susan Molinari, Guy's daughter. He attended rallies, dressed as Captain America. Later he worked for Guy Molinari's borough president campaign, part of a team that included another Molinari loyalist who later became a top aide in the Giuliani administration, Vincent La Padula. The group called themselves "Guy's Gang" and had jackets with the name inscribed on the back. Carrique was described as well-meaning, if not very bright. "He was one of those lost souls who sometimes attach themselves to campaigns," said one who knew him then. "He loved to be the loudest cheerleader at Molinari rallies," said another person who counts him as a friend.
Carrique entered his guilty plea on October 9. A few days earlier, he showed up at the island's annual Columbus Day parade, aboard current borough president James Molinaro's float, as Mayor Bloomberg marched alongside. Carrique had the lead role: He was dressed as Christopher Columbus.