NYT: Onetime Giuliani Insider Is Now a Critic
May 22, 2007
Onetime Giuliani Insider Is Now a Critic
By RUSS BUETTNER
As Rudolph W. Giuliani runs for president, his image as a chief
executive who steered New York through the disaster of Sept. 11 has
become a pillar of his campaign. But one former member of his inner
circle keeps surfacing to revisit that history in ways that are
unflattering to Mr. Giuliani: Jerome M. Hauer, New York City's first
emergency management director.
In recent days, Mr. Hauer has challenged Mr. Giuliani's recollection
that he had little role as mayor in placing the city's emergency
command center at the ill-fated World Trade Center.
Mr. Hauer has also disputed the claim by the Giuliani campaign that
the mayor's wife, Judith Giuliani, had coordinated a help center for
families after the attack.
And he has contradicted Mr. Giuliani's assertions that the city's
emergency response was well coordinated that day, a point he made most
notably to the authors of "Grand Illusion," a book that depicts Mr.
Giuliani's antiterrorism efforts as deeply flawed.
Mr. Hauer does not disparage Mr. Giuliani's overall effort at
emergency preparedness or appear to have actively sought out a role as
a Giuliani scold. But he has emerged as one in several settings where
his frank, often blunt, answers to questions have offered a rare view
inside the often-insular Giuliani administration.
Mr. Hauer was once part of the coterie of high school chums, fellow
former prosecutors and City Hall aides who remain the nucleus of Mr.
Giuliani's tight-knit set of advisers. From that perch, he helped Mr.
Giuliani confront some of New York City's most disquieting
predicaments, like the West Nile virus and a potential millennium
He emerged from four years of service to Mr. Giuliani as one of the
country's better known emergency preparedness experts and a frequent
guest on television news programs.
But in recent years, Mr. Hauer and Mr. Giuliani have had a falling
out, though they disagree on just why.
Now from a distance, Mr. Hauer offers views of Mr. Giuliani's
management style, ones that depict him not only as highly competent
and exceptionally hands-on, but also as insensitive and retaliatory at
Mr. Hauer, for example, recalls a conversation he had with Mr.
Giuliani in 2001 when he had decided to endorse a Democrat, Mark
Green, for New York City mayor over Mr. Giuliani's own choice for a
successor, Michael R. Bloomberg, a Republican. Mr. Hauer said Mr.
Giuliani, upset, called up to say his disloyalty was unforgivable.
"He was shouting, `If you do this, you're done ... I'm going to end
your career,' or something along those lines," Mr. Hauer said.
Joseph J. Lhota, a former deputy mayor, remembered the endorsement
debate differently, suggesting that Mr. Hauer had put politics over
principles in a way that "put his whole credibility in question."
Fred Siegel, the author of "The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York
and the Genius of American Life" (Encounter Books, 2005), said the
trust that members of Mr. Giuliani's inner circle invested in each
other was the reason no one apart from Mr. Hauer had ever emerged as
even an occasional critic.
"The core of the administration was that these guys would always pull
together," said Mr. Siegel, who once served as speechwriter for Mr.
Giuliani. "Once a decision was made, that was it. There wouldn't be
Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Hauer began their relationship in January 1996
when Mr. Hauer was hired to lead the new Office of Emergency
Management, created to coordinate the city's response to crises. Mr.
Hauer, who was little known before he became a Giuliani aide, had
previously run emergency management programs for the State of Indiana
In his book, Mr. Siegel describes Mr. Hauer, who is 6-foot-5, as "a
big, plain-spoken and knowledgeable man" who "won wide-spread
One of Mr. Hauer's first tasks was to find a home for an emergency
command center to replace the inadequate facilities at police
headquarters. Mr. Hauer suggested an office complex in downtown
Brooklyn as a "good alternative" in a memorandum.
But Mr. Hauer said the mayor insisted instead on a site within walking
distance of City Hall. Given that concern and others, Mr. Hauer said
he decided that offices on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center,
next to the twin towers and just a few blocks from City Hall, seemed
the best choice.
The site was immediately controversial because it was part of the
trade center, which had already been the location of a truck bomb
attack in 1993. City officials, though, including Mr. Hauer, have long
defended their decision, even after the command center had to be
evacuated during the 2001 terror attack.
Last week, in an interview with Fox News, Mr. Giuliani again faced
questions about the site. He put responsibility for selecting it on
"Jerry Hauer recommended that as the prime site and the site that
would make the most sense," Mr. Giuliani said. "It was largely on his
recommendation that that site was selected."
Mr. Hauer took immediate exception to that account in interviews.
"That's Rudy's own reality that he lives in," he said. "It is not, in
fact, the truth."
Mr. Hauer has also expressed concern about the level of support he
felt from Mr. Giuliani, in particular when he tried to bridge the
divide between the city's Police and Fire Departments, two disparate
emergency response cultures that battled over turf.
Mr. Hauer said he ended up in something of a feud with the police
commissioner at the time, Howard Safir, which came to a head in 1998
when, he said, he offered to help both departments prepare for a
chemical disaster drill.
Police officials declined help, Mr. Hauer said, but then sent
detectives to follow him and photograph his meeting with fire
officials. During a subsequent meeting with the mayor, Mr. Safir held
up the photographs, Mr. Hauer said, as triumphant evidence that Mr.
Hauer favored the Fire Department.
"Any man worth his salt would have been outraged that the Police
Department followed one of his closest commissioners," Mr. Hauer said.
"It was disgraceful."
But Mr. Hauer said that when he complained to Mr. Giuliani, all he got
was a blank stare.
Mr. Lhota, speaking for the campaign, said he was unaware of such an
incident. Mr. Safir did not return a call for comment.
Mr. Hauer left his city job in 2000. A year later, Mr. Giuliani called
him back into service after the terror attacks. He was assigned to
help prepare for possible biological or chemical attacks and to help
set up an assistance center for victims' families.
Mr. Giuliani's wife, Judith, who was then his companion, also had a
role in setting up the center. But last week Mr. Hauer told New York
magazine that the campaign's depiction of her role was "simply a lie."
The campaign's Web site said that Mrs. Giuliani had "coordinated the
efforts at the Family Assistance Center on Pier 94."
Indeed, others were at least equally involved in that effort. Rosemary
O'Keefe, who was then director of the Community Assistance Unit, said
Mrs. Giuliani had helped during the first two days at the pier.
"Judith was a very important part in the very beginning," Ms. O'Keefe
said in an interview. "I ran it 20 hours a day from that point forward."
Michael McKeon, a Giuliani campaign spokesman, said the campaign never
meant to suggest that Mrs. Giuliani played a singular role in
coordinating the center, only that she had helped set it up. He said
the language on the Web site had been adjusted.
Mrs. Giuliani, Mr. McKeon said, is "the first one to give credit to
Mr. Hauer, Mr. McKeon said, is just bitter.
Mr. Siegel said that what is indeed singular is the role Mr. Hauer has
now assumed, that of a high-ranking Giuliani insider who is now an
outsider with pointed opinions on a central topic of the presidential
"To me, it's unfortunate," Mr. Siegel said, "that two people who did
so much to prepare the city had a falling out."
Sewell Chan contributed reporting.
- Rudy is losing all my respect for him in an even more despicable
manner than McCain. While McCain is pandering to the right on just
above every issue, Giuliani is exploiting 9/11 in ways that even the
Bush gang didn't go in every occasion he speaks. I hope Rudy sleeps
well at night while the ghosts at Ground Zero are still looking for a
permanent resting place. I happen to believe in Karma.