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NYC Probes Deadbeat Bernie

NYC- The city Department of Investigation has launched a probe into ethical breaches committed by Bernard Kerik, the city’s former top cop.

The inquiry – one of two confronting Kerik – will explore numerous ethical lapses revealed in the Daily News this week after Kerik’s nomination to become the nation’s homeland security czar collapsed.

In a series of investigative stories, The News disclosed that Kerik broke rules on accepting gifts, developed close ties with an allegedly mob-linked city contractor and maintained a secret downtown apartment for simultaneous extramarital liaisons with two women.

The Department of Investigation released a statement last night saying it would make no further comments until it could digest “a matter that began four years ago that involves many people who are no longer in city government.”

DOI is empowered to investigate corrupt city employees and contractors. It regularly teams with state or federal prosecutors when its investigators uncover potential criminal activity.

The DOI statement noted that Kerik failed to file a background form when he was appointed police commissioner in 2000, though he had filed one when named correction commissioner two years before that.

DOI added that under current rules, all commissioners and other high-ranking officials must undergo background checks.

Many have wondered whether the White House asked DOI about Kerik before President Bush’s nomination. DOI officials clarified last night that the agency had not been contacted before or after Bush’s pick bombed.

The News reported Wednesday that in 1999, when Kerik was having trouble meeting some of his financial obligations, he bought two apartments that were combined into one during an extensive renovation.

A spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said the office had begun looking at Kerik’s purchase and remodeling of the apartments, in the Riverdale section of the borough.

“We’re gathering information,” said the spokesman, Stephen Reed, who said the matter is not yet a full-blown criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Kerik’s attorney released a few new details about the nanny Kerik has insisted was at the center of his withdrawn nomination.

The lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said the nanny worked for Kerik for about 18 months before leaving in early November.

Kerik only obtained the required New Jersey forms to register as the nanny’s employer on Nov. 17, Tacopina said.

But Tacopina refused to disclose the nanny’s name or nationality. He dismissed suggestions that the nanny was just a cover for more embarrassing problems that Kerik feared would come up during the confirmation process.

“There’s a nanny,” said Tacopina. “I swear there’s a nanny.”



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