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Former NYPD commissioner accused of coercion, defamation in PPE lawsuit case

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Bernard Kerik, a former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD), is facing allegations of attempting to intimidate a Staten Island man involved in a personal protection equipment (PPE) lawsuit.

Court documents reveal that “Kerik allegedly engaged in strong-arm tactics to dissuade the plaintiff, Waqas Shah, from making his grievances public.”

The court filings suggest that Kerik, a former top law enforcement official who served a federal prison sentence for tax fraud and false statement charges, spread false information about Shah.

He reportedly labeled Shah as a thief and a con man to Shah’s associates, damaging his reputation and causing financial losses.

This controversy arose in the context of a $21 million lawsuit filed by Shah against a New York City PPE company. Shah accused the company, SpecBid, of supplying him with faulty and counterfeit PPE items during the pandemic. Shah, aged 29, claimed to have purchased gloves, masks, and at-home test kits from SpecBid on behalf of clients including CVS, New Jersey State Troopers, Nassau County, and Vestra Labs.

In the lawsuit, Shah alleged that “some of the equipment provided by SpecBid was counterfeit or defective. Shah reportedly refunded his clients as a gesture of good faith, demonstrating his commitment to quality service.”

The lawsuit identifies SpecBid’s founder, Christopher Cardillo, and Cardillo’s associate, Andrew Albano, as defendants. Shah alleges that Kerik and Albano were dispatched by Cardillo to tarnish his reputation by spreading falsehoods to his business partners.

Shah’s lawsuit contends that Albano and Kerik falsely informed a contact that Shah had engaged in PPE supply theft, scams, and criminal activity, all of which he denies.

Legal representatives for SpecBid and Kerik rejected the claims of faulty equipment and denied Kerik’s involvement in any sales or interactions. SpecBid launched a countersuit against Shah, characterizing his claims as an attempt at extortion.

The company asserts that Kerik is not directly named in the lawsuit but is only mentioned in a motion to include him as a defendant in the civil complaint.

Timothy Parlatore, Kerik’s lawyer, emphasized that Kerik was not involved in any wrongdoing and played no role in the matter at hand. Parlatore also accused Shah of attempting to associate Kerik with criminal misconduct.

Parlatore notably represented Kerik in 2021 when Kerik was subpoenaed by a U.S. House committee investigating the events of the January 6 Capitol invasion. Kerik had been granted a pardon by former President Donald Trump in 2020 for felony convictions related to renovations of his Bronx apartment, which were allegedly connected to a construction company with suspected ties to organized crime.

This recent accusation against Kerik further complicates the legal landscape for the former commissioner, who has previously faced legal challenges and served time behind bars.

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