Debt Collection


Ex-police commissioner Bernie Kerik’s two top aides were so delinquent in paying for hundreds of dollars in personal calls, made on their city-supplied cell phones, that the Department of Investigation had to force them to pay up, records show.

DOI officials confronted John Picciano, Kerik’s longtime assistant, at the offices of Giuliani Partners, where both men were then employed, in order to get Picciano to ante up the unpaid charges, a memo obtained by the Voice states.

Picciano, who was chief of staff to Kerik at the police department, and L’Tonya Meeks, who served as special assistant to the NYPD commissioner, were each sent copies of the outstanding bills by certified mail in March 2002 and told to repay any personal charges. For Picciano, the total bill was $4,412; Meeks’s total was $9,903.

But the bills went ignored until a year later when a tipster told DOI about the problem. Investigators tracked down Meeks in June 2003 and obtained payment for $781.94. In Picciano’s case, DOI met with him on July 25, 2003, at Giuliani Partners. Picciano, the memo states, “acknowledged that he had not paid for his personal charges and assured DOI that payment would be forthcoming.” Three days later, Picciano’s check for $522.98 was received.

Kerik and Picciano both left Giuliani’s firm in the wake of Kerik’s ill-fated nomination as Homeland Security secretary. Picciano was widely blamed for 19 special high-tech security doors purchased by the NYPD for $50,000 apiece. The doors, built by a company that later put Kerik on its board of directors, never worked and last month were auctioned off for $1,100 each.