Monday, December 13, 2004

Kerik had 2 sumultaneous affairs

New York Daily News

Now his double affair laid bare
Monday, December 13th, 2004

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik conducted two extramarital affairs simultaneously, using a secret Battery Park City apartment for the passionate liaisons, the Daily News has learned.

The first relationship, spanning nearly a decade, was with city Correction Officer Jeanette Pinero; the second, and more startling, was with famed publishing titan Judith Regan.

His affair with Regan, the stunningly attractive head of her own book publishing company, lasted for almost a year.

Dramatically, each woman learned of the existence of the other after Pinero discovered a love note left by Regan in the apartment.

The revelations about Kerik's private life come as repercussions over his suitability to be nominated for the post of secretary of homeland security. Kerik, 49, married with two children from his current marriage, withdrew his name from consideration in a sudden and unexpected call to the White House on Friday night.

Kerik said that questions about the immigration status of his family's former nanny and failure to pay taxes prompted his decision to walk away from the job. But speculation has continued that there were deeper and more controversial reasons.

Yesterday, The News reported that a six-month investigation showed Kerik had accepted thousands of dollars in cash and gifts without proper disclosure, and had ties to a construction company that investigators believe is linked to the mob.

Now revelations about his private life also cast a shadow on his suitability for one of the administration's highest-profile cabinet positions.

Asked about the affairs and the secret love nest yesterday, Joseph Tacopina, Kerik's attorney, said Kerik and Regan had denied the affair in the past.

Tacopina said Kerik's "friendship" with Pinero ended in 1996.

He would not comment on the apartment.

Regan could not be reached for comment.

But sources with intimate knowledge of both affairs painted a picture of passionate, and sometimes volatile, liaisons.

The tumultuous Regan-Kerik romance carried on for months, through the writing, publication and promotion of his autobiography, "The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice," which Regan's company published.

The two worked out together most mornings at the New York Sports Club in Rockefeller Center and often dined at Fresco restaurant in midtown, according to sources.

Kerik visited Regan's Central Park West apartment almost daily, and occasionally stayed the night, with his police detail camped outside.

They became so close that Kerik's two nieces stayed with Regan while the commissioner's sister was hospitalized, one source said.

Regan visited the Battery Park apartment several times, the source said, but apparently never knew that his actual residence at that time was an apartment on E. 79th St.

Furnished corporate rentals similar to the unit Kerik used, according to the sources, are advertised at monthly rents from $3,150 to $6,200. Representatives of Milstein Properties, whichs owns the Liberty View, could not be reached yesterday.

After one encounter, Regan left a romantic note, which was later discovered by Pinero. The two later spoke on the phone.

"She wanted to know if Judith was still seeing him," the source said. "She told Regan about their affair and Regan told her she was shocked."

Many close to Kerik in the mid-1990s assumed that someday he would marry Pinero, a career correction officer described as spirited and attractive by friends, a close friend and a former high-ranking Correction Department source said.

The relationship continued after Kerik married Hala Matli, a hygienist in his dentist's office whom he met in mid-1996 and wed in November 1998, according to multiple sources close to Pinero and Kerik.

Kerik's affair with Pinero is at the center of two lawsuits against the city, both brought by correction employees who claimed Kerik retaliated after they crossed her.

The city settled one last year for $250,000, The News reported at the time.

The second suit, in which Pinero and Kerik were deposed last week, was filed by former Deputy Warden Eric DeRavin 3rd, who claims Kerik quashed his promotion after he reprimanded Pinero. The city demanded a gag order on both depositions.

Pinero declined to comment.

But sources with whom she has spoken said that on her trips to the Battery Park City apartment, Pinero was shuttled in through a side service door.

"She's going to be my wife for as long we live. I support her 100%," said Pinero's husband, who asked that his name be withheld.

Yesterday, Kerik remained at his $1.2 million home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

After announcing his decision to withdraw his name from the top homeland security post, he remained at the house over the weekend, emerging only twice to talk to media.

On both occasions, he stressed that he had made the decision to withdraw his name from consideration solely on the basis of problems with the family nanny.

He said he had realized on Wednesday evening that there were issues with the woman's immigration status and tax status.

He added that he wanted to avoid any embarrassment to the President, with whom he had stood side-by-side at a press conference announcing his nomination just a week before.

Kerik, who had a national profile after the events of 9/11, had been one of Bush's most enthusiastic public supporters during the election campaign.

With Nancy Dillon