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Feature Articles


November 2005

Bernard Kerik, The Feds, And The Mob

Part Two: Was Kerik Set-up?

By J. R. de Szigethy


     The mainstream Media in New York has been having a field day reporting on the financial dealings of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. At issue is who paid for what during the 1999 renovation of Kerik’s apartment in New York City; Kerik, Lawrence Ray, a government informant who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit stock fraud, and two brothers who own a construction company alleged to be associated with members of the Gambino and DeCavalcante Mafia families.

     Allegations surrounding this case are to be found in a new report by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Peter and Frank DiTommaso have been attempting for several years to obtain a permit to allow their company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, perform construction jobs at Casinos in Atlantic City. Investigators in New Jersey have blocked these attempts, alleging that the DiTommaso brothers were the victims of extortion attempts by members of the Gambino and DeCavalcante Mafia families back in the 1980s. The allegations against the DiTommaso brothers are being made by Mafia members who are hoping to get a ‘get-out-of-jail-free-card’ from the Feds, after having been caught in the commission of numerous murders. Among them are Anthony Capo, a member of the ‘real-life Sopranos’ who testified in 2003 that members of that crime family murdered their Godfather, John D’Amato, for alleged homosexual acts. The DiTommaso brothers, sons of a former decorated New York City Police Officer, have never been charged with a crime.

     While the allegations that Kerik sought to use his influence in the Giuliani Administration to lobby on behalf of Interstate Industrial are disturbing, many familiar with the workings of organized crime in New York cannot help but suspect there is more to this story than is apparent. This suspicion stems from the many documented cases in recent years in which members of law enforcement have been falsely accused of crimes, often by drug dealers in New York and their crooked co-horts in government.

     Such acts go back to 1992, when New York City Police Officer Michael O’Keefe attempted to arrest an illegal alien convicted drug dealer, ‘Kiko’ Garcia. During the struggle, Garcia attempted to shoot Officer O’Keefe and instead Garcia was fatally shot. Riots broke out in the Washington Heights area after then-Mayor David Dinkins effectively publicly accused O’Keefe of murder. Mayor Dinkins met with the family of the slain drug dealer and used taxpayer funds to pay for the drug dealer’s funeral back in the Dominican Republic. Despite Dinkins’ public demands for ‘justice,’ a Grand Jury cleared Officer O’Keefe of any wrongdoing.

     A year after Police Officer Michael O’Keefe was falsely accused came the case of Police Officer Louis Delli-Pizzi. In January, 1993 Officer Delli-Pizzi happened upon a man shooting a gun on the streets of Washington Heights. At the gunman’s trial, his wife testified that the two were inside a local restaurant when they heard the gunshots fired by a Chinese individual, and that her husband ran outside to investigate, only to be tackled and beaten by Officer Delli-Pizzi. Officer Delli-Pizzi faced several years in a Federal prison if convicted of violating the ‘civil rights’ of the gunman. However, with the help of the office of Guy Molinari, the Borough President of Staten Island, evidence was discovered that the gunman’s wife was in a local hospital giving birth to a child at the time she falsely testified to as to her whereabouts.

     Months later, the Feds in the Eastern District of New York began an investigation of Guy Molinari, who, with narcotics officer Bernard Kerik, was seeking the extradition from the Dominican Republic of two drug dealers who murdered Police Officer Michael Buczek in 1988. Molinari had also championed a member of law enforcement falsely accused of civil rights violations by drug dealers in Washington Heights. In apparent retaliation, the Feds tried to convince a government Informant to wear a wire on Molinari and convince him to offer her a job in exchange for information she had on drug dealers in New York and their corruption of New York officials. The woman refused and reported the attempted set-up to Molinari. A furious Molinari then took this story to the Media, and in April, 1995 the New York Post ran the story: "Guy Molinari Fumes: FBI Tried to Set Me Up!" "It’s outrageous!" Molinari said. "If they will do this to me, an elected official, I hate to think what they might do to a member of the general public!"

     While the Feds in Brooklyn were targeting Guy Molinari, that same office indicted a respected NYPD Detective, Joe Simone, on charges he accepted bribe money from the Colombo Mafia Family. Simone’s accuser was a violent drug dealer named "Big Sal" Miciotta. It took just two hours for the jury to acquit Detective Simone of all charges. Miciotta would later be proven a liar and removed from the Witness Protection Program.

     Detective Simone was a member of the elite Organized Crime Task Force that partnered NYPD officers with FBI agents. Simone’s supervisor was FBI agent Lyndley de Vecchio. During the course of three Federal trials of those who took part in the bloody Colombo Family War that waged in the early 1990s, leaving 12 people dead, FBI agents alleged that agent de Vecchio had leaked information to Greg Scarpa, a drug dealer and hitman who murdered rivals with information he got from de Vecchio. For 4 decades, Scarpa litterally had a ‘license to kill,’ protected in his drug dealing and murder schemes by the FBI as payback for his role as a government informant. Scarpa, a favorite of ‘confirmed bachelor’ J. Edgar Hoover, died of AIDS in 1994. Agent de Vecchio was never charged with a crime and retired with his government Pension.

     The story of the framing of Detective Joe Simone was first reported at AmericanMafia.com by this reporter in 1999, in the feature ‘Mob War!’ In 2004, journalist Peter Lance expanded on the Joe Simone story and the far-reaching consequences of the attempt to frame him in the book ‘Cover-up.’

     During the decade of the 1990s the ‘war on drugs’ evolved into a war by the drug dealers against those in law enforcement who waged the ‘war on drugs.’ It was during this time that narcotics officer Bernard Kerik rose to become Commissioner of the New York City Corrections Department and then later Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Kerik and Guy Molinari would eventually succeed in their efforts to have the two drug dealers who murdered Police Officer Michael Buczek returned to New York to face trial. The two accused were convicted and sent to prison for 25 years to life.

     While the FBI failed in it’s attempt to set up Guy Molinari using a government informant who refused to go along with their scheme, the Feds were more successful with their government Informant Lawrence Ray, who became a player in the mix of Mafia associates involved in New York area stock fraud scams. Curiously, Ray would eventually become closely associated with Kerik, as well as the DiTommaso brothers, who had been friends for many years of Guy Molinari.

     For those who find it hard to believe that innocent people get framed for crimes they did not commit, one should consider the case of New York City resident Barry Gibbs. In March, 2005, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the Las Vegas home of former NYPD Detective Lou Eppolito. Eppolito and his neighbor, retired Detective Stephen Caracappa, were arrested on drug trafficking charges and claims they participated in 9 Mafia murders. Inside Eppolito’s home agents found evidence that the former Detective had framed an innocent man of the murder of a young woman.

     The murder was that of a 27 year old Virginia Robertson, and Barry Gibbs had been convicted wrongly for her murder. Exactly why Eppolito chose Gibbs to frame for that murder is not yet clear, but Gibbs is happy now to be a free man after spending 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Detective Eppolito first had legal trouble in 1983, when he was put on Departmental trial for supplying information to heroin dealer Rosario Gambino. Eppolito has pleaded Not Guilty to the current charges facing him.

     The behavior of Gibbs when first questioned by police is a cautionary tale any accused person should heed. Gibbs was in fact acquainted with the murdered woman and when questioned by the cops, Gibbs was faced with three choices; lie about knowing the woman, a lie that would incriminate him if later proven he knew her, tell the truth, but insist he didn’t murder her, or invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Gibbs chose to tell the truth, and it then only took the false testimony of a man who now admits that Detective Eppolito forced him to falsely identify Gibbs as the killer, coupled with the testimony of a jailhouse informant, to convince a jury to send Gibbs to prison for the rest of his life.

EPILOGUE

     Unlike Barry Gibbs, Bernard Kerik invoked his Fifth Amendment rights nine times during questioning by the authorities investigating Interstate Industrial. Kerik did so on the advice of his attorney, Joseph Tacopina, a criminal lawyer who has made a career of defending cops wrongly accused of crimes.

     The news Media seized upon Kerik’s taking the Fifth as evidence he had committed wrongdoing. A criminal investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office is also said to be investigating the allegations regarding Kerik’s apartment renovations and who paid for what and what was done in exchange.

     The news Media seems to have forgotten the cases of Police Officers Michael O’Keefe, Louis Delli Pizzi, Joe Simone, and others who found themselves falsely accused of crimes after taking on members of the multi-billion dollar drug industry.

     If one questions the average New Yorker as to "Who is Bernard Kerik?", most would know who he is and many would likely add they believe he is guilty of something, although exactly what they could not specify. Ask the average New Yorker: "Who was Michael Buczek?" and most wouldn’t have a clue.

Postscript

     Bernard Kerik was nominated by the President of the United States to be the Director of Homeland Security. Kerik’s decisive leadership as the Commissioner of the New York City Corrections Department, his stewardship as the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, the many times Kerik put his life on the line as a narcotics officer, and, later, Police Commissioner during the dark days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as his service in Iraq, certainly qualified him to lead this country through events such as further terrorist attacks or natural disasters such as the recent weather-related events in the Southern States.

     From his birth to a woman victimized by a Mafia-run prostitution ring, Bernard Kerik has fought back against organized crime. Kerik detailed this in his best-selling autobiography ‘The Lost Son.’ Now, as Kerik enters the next phase of his life, he is once again facing public scrutiny as to his acts and actions during his professional life.

     Every drug dealer in America, who prey upon America’s children, is eagerly following this story, hoping that Bernard Kerik will fall.

To be continued

Related Features by this author:

Bernard Kerik, the Feds, and the Mob
Part One:
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_287.html

Crime Scene: World Trade Center
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_275.html

The ‘Sopranos Trial’
Part One: New Jersey Mob Boss Whacked for Gay Behavior
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_249.html

Mob War!
Murder, Deception, and Intrigue Inside New York’s Colombo Mafia Family
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_9.html


J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at:
writer10021@aol.com

© 2005


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