It's Guiliani Time
Rudy Guiliani is tough on crime ... to a point.
If you're a pal of Rudy's, your crimes are not his concern.
A cascade of questions followed about [Kerik's] judgment as a public official, not least that he had inappropriately lobbied city officials on behalf of Interstate Industrial, a construction firm suspected of links to organized crime. Mr. Giuliani defended Mr. Kerik, a friend and business partner, whom he had recommended to the Bush administration. But he also tried to shield himself from accusations that he had ignored Mr. Kerik's failings.
"I was not informed of it," Mr. Giuliani said then, when asked if he had been warned about Mr. Kerik's relationship with Interstate before appointing him to the police post in 2000.
Mr. Giuliani amended that statement last year in testimony to a state grand jury. He acknowledged that the city investigations commissioner, Edward J. Kuriansky, had told him that he had been briefed at least once. The former mayor said, though, that neither he nor any of his aides could recall being briefed about Mr. Kerik’s involvement with the company.
But a review of Mr. Kuriansky’s diaries, and investigators' notes from a 2004 interview with him, now indicate that such a session indeed took place. What is more, Mr. Kuriansky also recalled briefing one of Mr. Giuliani's closest aides, Dennison Young Jr., about Mr. Kerik's entanglements with the company just days before the police appointment, according to the diaries he compiled at the time and his later recollection to the investigators.
The additional evidence raises questions not only about the precision of Mr. Giuliani's recollection, but also about how a man who proclaims his ability to pick leaders came to overlook a jumble of disturbing information about Mr. Kerik, even as he pushed him for two crucial government positions.
"Rudy can fall for people big time, and sometimes qualifications are secondary to loyalty," said Fran Reiter, a former Giuliani deputy mayor who now supports Hillary Clinton. "If he gets it in his head he trusts you, he is extremely loyal."
Giuliani employs his childhood friend Monsignor Alan Placa as a consultant at Giuliani Partners despite a 2003 Suffolk County, N.Y., grand jury report that accuses Placa of sexually abusing children, as well as helping cover up the sexual abuse of children by other priests. Placa, who was part of a three-person team that handled allegations of abuse by clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, is referred to as Priest F in the grand jury report. The report summarizes the testimony of multiple alleged victims of Priest F, and then notes, "Ironically, Priest F would later become instrumental in the development of Diocesan policy in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests."
Five years after he was suspended from his duties because of the abuse allegations, Placa is currently listed as "priest in residence" at St. Aloysius Church in Great Neck, N.Y., where close friend Brendan Riordan serves as pastor, and officially lives at the rectory there with Riordan. In addition, Placa co-owns a penthouse apartment in Manhattan with Riordan, the latest in a half-dozen properties the two men have owned in common at various times since the late 1980s.
Placa has worked for Giuliani Partners since 2002. As of June 2007, he remains on the payroll. "He is currently employed here," Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel confirmed to Salon, adding that Giuliani "believes Alan has been unjustly accused." Mindel declined to discuss what role Placa plays with the consulting firm, or how much he is paid. Says Richard Tollner, who testified before the grand jury that Placa had molested him, "[Giuliani] has to speak up for himself and explain himself. If he doesn't, people shouldn't vote for him." Adds Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks suspected priest abuse, "I think Rudy Giuliani has to account for his friendship with a credibly accused child molester."
When Rudolph Giuliani appointed a task force on police-community relations last summer, you didn't have to be a seer to know it was a spin. He wanted to take some of the heat off himself in the horrified wake of what happened to Abner Louima in the 70th Precinct.
Having now pushed the commission to disband, Giuliani--as a New York Times headline put it -- "sneered" at the commission's mild majority report. Surprised at the backlash to his arrogance, he said later he could have been more gracious in his response to his vassals.
But as usual, Giuliani has had his own way. The commission is dead, and he will continue to fight any attempt, including by the City Council, to allow the existence of an independent review board over the police. Giuliani deeply believes that only the police can credibly make the police accountable for brutality and corruption.
Being tough on crime is the easiest thing in the world. Being tough on your cronies' crimes is another matter. And Rudy is weak as water when it comes to his cronies' crimes.
And that's where the problems lies. We currently have an Administration that's tough on crime, except for the crimes committed by the Administration, its advocates and its allies. With Rudy, it will be worse. In a Guiliani Administration, Rudy will be his own Abu Gonzales.