Nominations that weren't (beginning with Kerik)

George W. Bush does not select appointees based on ability, expertise or achievement. Instead, in the fashion of despots, he selects only those who he feels will exhibit loyalty to himself without regard to questions of competence or propriety.

Nominations that weren't (beginning with Kerik)

Postby Kali » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:31 pm

What nominations has Bush made that, even in this post-November 2, 2004 climate - can't make it? The real disasters that not even the Republicans will approve, that is?

Numero Uno here is: Kerik, the nomination withdrawn, question: who is the Nanny, and where is he hiding her?
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undisclosed marriage, clandestine love affairs, unsavory....

Postby Kali » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:32 pm


The New York Times
December 16, 2004
<B>Mystery Woman in Kerik Case: Nanny</B>

One secret after another has tumbled out since the collapse of Bernard B. Kerik's nomination as homeland security secretary - an undisclosed marriage, clandestine love affairs, unsavory business ties and unreported gifts.

In brief sidewalk interviews, Mr. Kerik himself has been willing to talk in general terms about reports suggesting intimate transgressions. His associates, including former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, have also publicly addressed the growing list of reported ethical and legal problems in Mr. Kerik's past.

Yet six days after Mr. Kerik withdrew his nomination, citing "questions about the immigration status of a person who had been in my employ," the figure central to the scandal - the nanny - remains a complete mystery.

The White House has been unwilling to discuss any specifics of the nanny herself, including whether anyone in the administration had asked Mr. Kerik for details about her identity, status or nationality. Answers were not forthcoming from Mr. Kerik's camp, either. "We are not going to discuss the nanny any further," said Christopher Rising, general counsel at Giuliani-Kerik L.L.C., who is acting as a spokesman for Mr. Kerik.

Among the unanswered questions are where she came from, and even whether she was actually working in the country illegally when Mr. Kerik said she served as a housekeeper and nanny for his two small daughters. In a statement last Friday announcing his withdrawal, Mr. Kerik said he had "uncovered information that now leads me to question the immigration status" of someone who worked for him.

None of this means that the mysterious nanny could not emerge from the shadows tomorrow to speak on television talk shows. At least one of Mr. Kerik's neighbors in New Jersey was able to describe the woman yesterday.

A neighbor who lives next door to the Keriks in Franklin Lakes, N.J., said that until a few weeks ago she would see a woman she believed to be the nanny playing ball with the two Kerik children in a side yard. But even that neighbor, who described the children's playmate as a young, olive-skinned woman who did not drive, had never met the woman or learned where she came from. The neighbor spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But many others have either been reluctant or unable to talk about her, including other nannies in the neighborhood, relatives of Mr. Kerik's wife, Hala, even Mr. Kerik's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina.

Mr. Tacopina, who has also been fielding calls from the press on Mr. Kerik's behalf, said he knows nothing about the nanny's identity, the length of her employment or even her nationality, despite news reports that she was Mexican that were mistakenly attributed to him.

"I never met her," he said. "I don't know what country she came from. I don't know her nationality. I don't know her name." Pressed, he added, "I know she's not a phantom, because a document was applied for and received."

The document to which Mr. Tacopina referred is itself secret, however. A registration form that New Jersey requires of employers of household workers, state officials said, it was issued to Mr. Kerik on Nov. 17, shortly before President Bush announced his nomination, and its contents are private - including the name and Social Security number listed for the employee in question.

Mr. Tacopina said that he had not prepared or seen the documents - withholding-tax forms and a report on wages paid - but that he believed they had been filed "in conjunction with the paying of the taxes."

Mr. Kerik's statement withdrawing his name alluded to such belated tax payments, noting that he had "already initiated efforts to fulfill any outstanding reporting requirements and tax obligations related to this issue."

Mr. Tacopina said the taxes were not paid at first because Mr. Kerik "had an accountant handling his finances. When he did the proper state paperwork for the nanny, the taxes were already in the process of being rectified." He said the nanny recently returned to her own country, but he could not supply a date or a destination.

Last night, Mr. Kerik was told that skeptics in city government circles were questioning the very existence of the nanny, and he was pressed to provide any kind of evidence to document that she was real. But after taking time to consider the request, Mr. Kerik again decided to remain silent on the subject.

Most puzzled about the nanny, perhaps, are former neighbors of the Keriks and their kin. In the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where the family lived in a first-floor apartment for years before moving last year into the Franklin Lakes home they had extensively renovated, neighbors did not recall any household help. One neighbor, Dennis Doyle, noted that Mr. Kerik's wife, Hala Matli Kerik, a former dental hygienist, not only seemed to care for Celine, now 4, by herself, but that she did her own laundry as well.

In the blue-collar neighborhood of Elmwood Park, N.J., where Mrs. Kerik's mother, Zakia, lived in a rented duplex for years, neighbors reacted with surprise to questions about a nanny, and said that Mrs. Kerik's mother had moved into the Kerik home about a year ago.

"They never came around here with a nanny," said Sophie Borsuk, 55, the longtime landlady and downstairs neighbor of Mrs. Kerik's mother. "I never saw any nanny. This is the first time I heard about a nanny."

But in Franklin Lakes, a town of vast lawns and winding driveways, nannies are practically an expected status symbol, according to the owners of nanny agencies that serve the area, all of which denied supplying the Keriks with a nanny.

"He had to have known the status of his nanny," said Christine Sandrib, who has operated Nannies N More for 14 years. "If she's illegal, anybody in his position had to have known."

Like Christy Ann Bozanian, owner of A Better Nanny, Ms. Sandrib stressed that an agency was responsible for determining that any employee it placed was legal. Their own agencies require a green card or work authorization as well as a criminal background check. Both said the demand for legal, thoroughly vetted nannies had risen dramatically in recent years.

"In particular post 9/11, there's a greater concern about knowing who is in their home," Ms. Sandrib said. "This neighborhood is full of attorneys, physicians, people involved in politics at some sort of a level. They're not interested in illegal candidates. An educated person should know to ask for that."

Paying Social Security taxes and workers' compensation is another story, they said. "I provide every family with information about payroll taxes, and the agency to call," Ms. Bozanian said. "What they do with that is up to them."

Ms. Sandrib estimated that 99 percent of nannies, legal or not, were paid off the books. They said that legal, agency-placed nannies commanded higher wages - about $450 a week for a live in, compared with as little as $275 for those without legal status.

Christie Denicola, another neighbor of the Keriks, declared in a defiant tone that she is raising her three children without a nanny. She said she never noticed a housekeeper at the Keriks'. But she added, "There was a lot of family over there visiting," and that she would not have been able to distinguish a nanny from the relatives.

The picture of the Keriks that emerged was of an extended family transplanted suddenly from modest surroundings to great wealth.

Joseph Kerik, 19, Mr. Kerik's son by what he has now revealed was his second marriage, also was living in the Kerik mansion while working for Jerry Speziale, the Passaic County sheriff and a close friend of Mr. Kerik's. He is now in training at the Passaic County Police Academy and did not respond to messages left there for him yesterday.

In his biography, "The Lost Son," Mr. Kerik said that his wife, Hala, now 35, is part of a close-knit Syrian Christian family and arrived in the United States at 14. Family members of hers reached by phone - Mona Matli, of Oldsmar, Fla., and Reem Matli Safar, of Maywood, N.J. - politely declined to say anything when asked about the nanny.

Rachel Metz, Josh Benson and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
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Postby Kali » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:36 pm

BUSH may have all the power, but he's still dumb as a stump.
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