Bernie Kerik and The Secrets of White Collar Prisons …my take on DuJour article

December 12, 2013

I discovered another “Poor Bernie” article today written by F.O.B (Friend of Bernie) Lisa DePaulo in the latest edition of the  selectively  posh “ DuJour Magazine” entitled “The Secrets of White Collar PrisonsBernie Kerik, Jack Abramoff and Dennis Kozlowski—three of the most high-profile men to be on the inside—smash the perception that prison life is anything like “Club Fed”.

Once again, Bernard Kerik passes on the opportunity to take responsibility for his actions and accept his punishment. We do not hear any of that in this column. We do not hear the “just don’t do it or you’ll end up in this miserable place” lesson expected from a truly contrite, rehabilitated felon. Instead we receive the same “self-minded” arrogance of an unrepentant, ungrateful stagnant and stubborn soul. 

As one of the few who actually sat in those hard plastic purple chairs in the visiting room of Cumberland  sharing precious minutes with Bernie, I found this article a bit of fluff, trite and showing some inconsistencies. I will insert this disclaimer here. Bernie has lied to me, intentionally and by omission, so he may have lied to the writer too. I will give her the benefit of that doubt.

First of all, Bernie personally told me doing time in Cumberland was not difficult or unsafe in any way. He admitted the hardest part was the lack of  sex, missing his family and friends, the unrelenting routine of each day and the boredom.  I also know that young inmates ruling the television room with “the B.E.T rap videos” and American Idol shows drove him nuts! Ha!

It is true before his library job, Bernie had previously worked washing dishes in the kitchen and mopping floors. It took him over a year to admit that to me. He was obviously embarassed and ashamed to declare it. I told him not to be ashamed.  I replied to Bernie that many of us do dishes and mop floors every day. He looked up from his shamed posture, our eyes met and he gently rubbed his knee into mine as he did when we wanted to feel close in a visiting room that allowed little PDA at all… I was always proud of Bernie for taking his sentence like a real man. He did that back then, in prison. I don’t recognize the pompous, righteous, ungrateful man full of hubris that exited the prison….

The most amazing “discrepancy” cited in this article was Bernie’s alleged relationship with Bernie’s proclaimed “best prison buddies, Jack Abramoff”.  Bernie told me he never spoke to Abramoff explaining they were housed in separate buildings and Abramoff had only been there a few weeks after Bernie arrived.  As I recall, we were discussing the cell situation with his profile status. Again, Bernie has lied, manipulated and deceived me before so I’m going with Abramoff and DePaulo on this one.

Bernie requested magazines every month and I was happy to mail him the maximum number allowed. He liked GQ, Vanity Fair,  Esquire,  Time, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, The Box (Cross Fit)  but NOT Sports Illustrated. He never once requested DuJour magazine. I doubt the Cumberland library has that one in its stacks. It is a magazine catering to the 1% rich and infamous. It is perhaps the one periodical most of those “first time drug dealing mandatory minimum “black youths from DC” to which Bernie, of late, pays lip service, may never get to read.

Bernie admitted to me it was difficult to talk about his existence inside Cumberland. I was passive, respectful of our limited time together and never pressed him on the daily details. I loved Bernie. So long as he was safe and healthy, I was content and grateful. Frankly, at the time, the daily humiliation I saw and heard him endure hurt my own heart too much to want to inquire.

Yes, prison was tough on Bernie as well as those waiting for his return home. I know the SHU in New York City was the worst for him. We wrote about that. I had to drag that experience out of him using questions like a journalist. I remember how much pain both of us were in writing that piece. The SHU experience aside, I do know Bernie had it better than most in that prison. He had family and friends who loved him, remained loyal to him and welcomed him home. I supported Bernie in prison. He never lacked for commissary, books, magazines, envelopes, stamps, telephone minutes, etc.  while I was around. He had everything to the maximum a prisoner was allowed to have. Bernie used his maximum visits per month all the time. Some prisoners received little or no visits on a regular basis. As prisoners go, Bernie had it pretty good. Bernard Kerik returned home to national TV interviews, a million dollar estate, alleged money making offers and a lifestyle most average Americans may only dreams of having one day. Life is not that bad for him. He should be more grateful and honest in his daily living. Yes, I reserve and have earned the right to “should” on him!

I wrote and edited a lot of work with Bernie during incarceration.  It should be said if Bernie is writing a continuation of his autobiography, I’ll be there every step of the way to keep him honest.  No more fiction for Mr. Kerik on my watch! It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Bernie and I “dined” in the Cumberland visiting room on E3 vending coffee, microwave cheeseburgers and fruit flavored waters. Ms. DePaulo, despite your entertaining “history” with Bernie over Barolo and steak, it’s not the secrets he told you about “Club Fed”.  A “dujour”, it’s rather the secrets about which he hasn’t spoken.  I’ll take it from here, Mademoiselle…