The trouble with that account of the meeting is that a memo written by Landa contradicts it. She writes that Caruso said he would do whatever was asked of him, and that "he never felt so supported by DOI executive staff as he feels under this administration."

Even after deciding to fire Caruso, Hearn tried to keep it quiet. While one aide looked into other jobs for him, another helped him update his résumé. The plan was to give him good references, and a send-off with, according to Hearn's deposition, "the traditional thanks and well wishes."

Bernie Kerik is now on the short end of a four-year bid in federal prison. And Caruso is edging ever closer to a final result in his stubborn, quixotic six-year legal battle to clear his name—or at least to get paid.

As commissioner of the Department of Investigation, Rose Gill Hearn stands on the front lines of the city’s anti-corruption resistance. But can she escape the toxic cloud released by Bernie Kerik and her ex-employee Michael Caruso?
Richard Drew
As commissioner of the Department of Investigation, Rose Gill Hearn stands on the front lines of the city’s anti-corruption resistance. But can she escape the toxic cloud released by Bernie Kerik and her ex-employee Michael Caruso?
Bernie Kerik
CHRIS KLEPONIS/EPA/Newscom
Bernie Kerik

"They handled him with kid gloves," says the retired correction official, "and now it's probably going to end up costing the city a lot of money."

As for Hearn, she'll probably follow Bloomberg out the door next January, bringing both of their long tenures to a close. Caruso's lawsuit won't cost her a dime, but it could leave a nasty blot on her reputation—and that might well be even worse.

grayman@villagevoice.com

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