Thursday, December 23, 2004

Saint Rudy

Going down...

Late Tuesday, a federal magistrate released testimony by Bernard B. Kerik and a former girlfriend in an employment discrimination case, one of the legal tangles from his years as a senior aide to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani that surfaced while his nomination as secretary of homeland security was collapsing.

For the Bloomberg administration, the case was just one more front in the municipal litigation that grinds along, regardless of national politics: dealing with the damages people claim to have suffered at the hands of Mr. Giuliani or his senior aides.

In the three years since Michael R. Bloomberg succeeded Mr. Giuliani, the city has spent close to $2 million to settle lawsuits brought by residents and city workers who accused the Giuliani administration of retaliating against them for exercising free speech or other constitutional rights.

Among them is a limousine driver, James Schillaci, who had complained in a newspaper article about a red-light sting set up by the police in the Bronx. The same day, police came to his home to arrest him for a 13-year-old unpaid ticket. The next day, the mayor obtained - illegally, Mr. Schillaci said - the record of his arrests from decades earlier and discussed it, inaccurately, at a news conference. The city settled with him for $290,000 in 2002.

A correction worker charged that he was bypassed for promotion because he supported a political opponent of Mr. Giuliani's and that city investigators videotaped the guests arriving at his home for a political fund-raiser. The city paid him $325,000 this year.