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Ex-Giuliani partner has parcels in Pasco
Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner recently indicted on federal charges, spent nearly half a million dollars on four lots in Westwood Estates.
By Susan Taylor Martin, Times Staff Writer
Published November 21, 2007
WESLEY CHAPEL - If embattled former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik needs a quiet getaway, he already has the perfect site - four undeveloped lots in a semirural area of Pasco County.
Kerik, onetime business partner of presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, paid $485,431 cash in February 2005 for 17 acres in Westwood Estates, records show. So far Kerik and wife, Hala, have done nothing with the property, but the seller said he heard talk of grand plans.
"My understanding was that he was going to put up a 10,000-square-foot home," says Thampy Kurian, president of a Massachusetts electronics firm.
Kerik bought the lots just two months after he was forced to withdraw his nomination as Secretary of Homeland Security in December 2004 because he had hired an undocumented worker as a nanny. That was followed by reports of questionable stock sales, an extramarital affair, connections to a construction company suspected of mob ties and allegations that he used police resources for personal gain.
The disclosures also forced Kerik to resign his lucrative partnership in the consulting firm founded by Giuliani, New York City's former mayor and once Kerik's biggest fan.
Giuliani, seeking the Republican nomination for president, has further distanced himself since his friend was indicted Nov. 8 on numerous federal charges including fraud, conspiracy and lying to the IRS.
Despite his checkered past and mounting legal woes, Kerik continues to run his own, apparently successful, consulting business. Clients include the government of Jordan.
The once-bankrupt former cop - who now lives in a $1.2-million house in Franklin Lakes, N.J. - did not return calls seeking comment on what attracted him to Westwood Estates. About 20 miles north of Tampa in eastern Pasco, it is a gated, upper-middle class subdivision with lots big enough to accommodate horses. A fourth of the 89 lots have houses on them.
Tax records show Kerik's property is assessed at $508,813, slightly more than what he paid. But if he needs to sell any or all of the lots to cover his legal bills, he may have quite a wait given the dire state of Florida's real estate market.
Property "is sitting about a year," says Mary Berling, an agent who specializes in the area. "It's slowed down very much everywhere around here."