An allegedly mob-tied construction firm paid more than $180,000 for renovations to a Riverdale apartment owned by former police commissioner Bernie Kerik, according to a report released today by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.
Kerik had $200,000 worth of reconstruction work done to merge two apartments in the W. 239th Street building in 1999, but paid for only $17,800 of the repairs himself, according to a complaint filed today by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The rest of the fix-up cost was allegedly picked up Interstate Industrial Corporation, a New Jersey contractor whose license to do work at Atlantic City casinos is being challenged to by the Attorney General’s office which has accused it of dealing with numerous mob figures.
According to the complaint, Interstate paid another firm, Woods Restoration Service, to carry out the renovations. Mark Rothstein, general manager at New Jersey-based Woods, said he was unaware of the matter.
State Division of Gaming Enforcement director Thomas Auriemma said that Interstate owner Frank DiTommasso had “attempted to influence Kerik in the performance or violation of his official duties.”
Kerik’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said his client had done nothing wrong. “This is of no consequence to Bernie whatsoever,” said Tacopina. “If there was a side deal between Interstate and Woods, Bernie knew nothing about it.”
Kerik withdrew his nomination by President Bush to serve as Homeland Security director last December amid reports of his ties to Interstate. He has insisted for over a year, however, that renovations at the apartment were modest and that he paid for them himself.
As a city official, Kerik, who served as both corrections and police commissioner under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, would be prohibited from receiving a gift of over $50 from a firm doing business with the city.
Kerik’s dealings with Interstate Industrial are currently under investigation by the city’s Department of Investigation and the Bronx District Attorney.
“It’s still an open case,” said Steve Reed of the Bronx D.A.’s office.
“DOI has a number of matters under review,” said agency spokeswoman Emily Gest.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 15, 2005