Michael Caruso, Kerik’s DOI Pal, Sues City

Michael Caruso, a longtime pal of Bernie Kerik and a former employee of the city’s Department of Investigation, has filed suit against the city and the highest-ranking staffers of DOI.

Caruso was at Walker’s restaurant in 1999 when Kerik and Ray Casey, the waste commissioner, had a conversation that was a subject of the Kerik grand jury investigation. In that conversation, according to reports of the grand jury testimony, Kerik recommended his wedding party’s best man, Larry Ray, for work with Casey.

Caruso was summoned to testify before the grand jury regarding that meeting.

The complaint alleges that Walter Arsenault told Caruso before testifying that “Remember Kerik vouched for Larry Ray at the Walkers’ meeting and everything will be O.K.” (Arsenault was appearing as an assistant D.A. at the Bronx grand jury and is also the First Deputy Commissioner of the DOI.)

The complaint says Caruso had already told Arsenault the day previous that he “could not truthfully testify” to that; he did not.

Three days later, Caruso was terminated from the DOI. His complaint alleges his removal was in “retaliation” for providing “truthful grand jury testimony” and “because of the relationship between Plaintiff and Kerik.”

A month prior to his termination, the complaint claims, Caruso’s boss wrote to him that he’d be named Inspector General of the Sanitation Department and given a raise—and be given a larger office.

The six counts include wrongful discharge and defamation, and a demand for jury trial. No filed response to the complaint was available in the U.S. District Court. Caruso’s lawyer did not immediately return a call to his office.

—Choire Sicha with Theodore Bressman