Opinion: Kerik may find good-bye ain't gone
In America, it is very easy for people considered marginal to disappear from folk's minds. A woman, probably from Mexico or South America, who is an undocumented alien, has apparently disappeared literally from the life of the policeman who loved to break the rules, Bernard K. Kerick. He is hoping that she will disappear symbolically, too. Having served the role of beard for the other illegalities George W. Bush's would be terrorism czar may have been involved in, Senorita No Name is supposed to disappear altogether.
Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, writing at Sign On San Diego, would like to know who she is and where she went.
No matter how much I've read about this matter, I can't find out anything about this girl or woman. We don't know her name or place of origin. We don't know if she liked her job or how much she was paid. We only know she was undocumented. Shortly after Kerik made the phone call, his nanny disappeared, and all we know is she returned to her own country.
Maybe it's because my only point of reference is my mother and other women who have worked taking care of children or the elderly, but I don't like the idea that she was forced to leave the country, summarily, for looking after the children of a man who sought a government post he didn't deserve.
I wonder if they paid her when they fired her. I wonder if she got a Christmas bonus. I wonder if she had grown to love those children she can no longer see. I wonder if Mr. or Mrs. Kerik thanked her.
Though the undocumented nanny may be the least of Kerick's breaches, I don't believe her disappearance is going to take. The fine tooth comb examination of his past that should have occurred before now has revealed too much, just days after beginning. A stock deal that made him a millionaire six times over. Links to organized crime in several ways. Abuse of power during his tenure as the head of the correction department in New York. Purchases in his various capacities that seem to have been more about possible kickbacks than the agencies involved needing the products. A seamy personal life that includes three wives, one hidden until now. An abandoned daughter that he did not acknowledge until she was well into adulthood. A son he now says is by the missing second wife, not his first as claimed before. Falsification of documents that would have pinpointed his financial and legal problems by a pattern of not completing the paperwork. Curiosity about whether Kerik ever tells the truth about anything will make it difficult for Senorita No Name to disappear.
Of course, it would be to her advantage if she could stay out of the spotlight. Having it established that she worked illegally in the United States could doom future efforts at acquiring citizenship. And, unlike Kerik, who has never faced the legal consequences of his actions, the nanny surely would.
Despite believing Kerik to be a blowhard, I am operating under the premise that he is telling the truth about the existence of the undocumented nanny. She could have been made up as a convenient way to recant his acceptance of leadership of the Department of Homeland Security, shortly after the announcement. Kerik may have hoped that by presenting a typical error of well-off political appointees, he would divert attention from his long path of shady behavior. If so, he has failed. The New York Times' recent article about Kerik's nanny problem was mainly about the absence of the nanny.
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."
One current neighbor of the Keriks says she has seen an olive-skinned young woman playing with their children. But, the woman could have been a relative. Kerik's strongest defender, his attorney, Joseph Tacopina, admits he is relying on his client's claim that he filed belated tax paperwork in regard to her to prove the nanny's existence. He says he has never seen the paperwork.
If Senorita No Name exists, I hope Crosthwaite's desire she not be dehumanized occurs when she meets the press. Her 'crime' is wanting to come to a country where she can make a living beyond the subsistence level. Her former employer's behavior has been much worse.
The media is now looking into allegations of Kerik having ties to organized crime in Staten Island.