2006_07_kerik.jpgSometimes Gothamist comes across a news story that makes our head hurt. Such is the story of the excess security doors the city bought six years ago, which were never installed, and now have been given to the State Department.

The doors were purchased by the Corrections Department, under then-commissioner Bernie Kerik, in 2000 to prevent visitors from sneaking contraband and weapons into the city's jails. However, the inmate population began decreasing in the late-90s, which translated into fewer jail visitors. Most of the $50,300 doors were thus never installed. In the meantime, Kerik had become police commissioner, and the NYPD bought four more doors from Georal International Inc. for police headquarters. Those doors were never installed because it was realized, post-purchase, that they were too heavy for the floor at headquarters. Thus, 19 doors were put into storage on Rikers.

Following along?

After leaving the NYPD, Kerik became an advisory board member of DataWorld Solutions Inc. The next year, DataWorld obtained the rights to distribute the Georal doors. According to Kerik's attorney, Kerik had nothing to do with the purchase of the doors. Bernie's chief of staff at both Corrections and the NYPD, John Picciano, authorized the purchase of the first batch of doors.

In any event, the city tried three times to auction off the doors. The Integrated Security Corp. bought the 19 unused doors for a total price of $35,000. However, the city claims that purchase was secretly backed by Alan J. Risi, the owner of Georal, which originally sold the doors to the city for nearly a million dollars. It turns out that Integrated Security and Georal have the same address in Queens. Mr. Risi's lawyer says there was no wrongdoing but that Georal had gone out of business, with Integrated Security "now running the show". Mr. Risi and Joanne Ruscillo, who bid for Integrated Security are awaiting trial on felony charges of "offering a false instrument for filing".

Having given up on using the doors or auctioning them off, the city eventually donated them to the State Department, where they are being prepared for shipment to secret locations overseas.