Jewish World Review Dec. 30, 2004 / 15 Teves, 5765

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Scoundrel year | It was such a good line in the Bible that John F. Kennedy recycled it, with minor change: "For of those to whom much is given, much is required."

Alas, not everybody who was given much in 2004 met the test. Some saw fit to take more than they were entitled to. And some simply violated the spirit of social responsibility Kennedy famously cited. However they did it, their piggy-piggy ways took them all from the A-list to rogues' gallery. Drumroll, please, for the 2004 Hall of Shame.

  • Martha Stewart: It was in March that a federal jury found the multimillionaire guilty of lying about a stock sale that saved her $51,000. Stewart is now in prison, doing five months and preparing for a relaunch of her life and career.

    But even if she succeeds in having her conviction overturned, the new image of inmate No. 55170-054 can't be erased. Her trial exposed her as a cheap bully who charged her company for routine living expenses. The conviction cost her stockholders millions and some of her employees their jobs. Those are not good things.

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  • Bernie Kerik: The former top cop had it all: a national reputation for heroism, millions from some sweet consulting deals and a new family. If only he had stopped there. But when Kerik foolishly said yes to President Bush's offer to run homeland security, the gates of hell opened on him. Within days, he was exposed as a serial skirt chaser and faced allegations that he took money from people doing business with the city. Each day brought new charges, and Kerik is the subject of official probes.

    He is also unemployed, no longer a partner with Rudy Giuliani in a consulting business. Giuliani, who ignored signs of Kerik's messy life, apologized to Bush over the fiasco.

  • Jason Giambi: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Giambi's boyish good looks and long home runs led George Steinbrenner to give him a $120million contract. Turns out the muscles that hit those home runs were inflated with steroids, as Giambi admitted to a grand jury. The revelation coincided with the breakdown of Giambi's body and performance. The Yanks want to dump him - if they can get out of the contract or find a team willing to take a certified cheat.

  • The Dolans: Father Charles and son James are funding the campaign to defeat a new Jets stadium. Two problems: their motives and their money. The Cablevision bosses don't want competition for their Madison Square Garden. And the money spent on TV ads is ours. Thanks to a tax break gone awry, the Garden hasn't paid property taxes since 1984. The Dolans are saving $11.8 million this year - enough to hire about 150 cops or teachers. You'd think they'd have the decency to give back the money. Think again.

  • Jim McGreevey: "I am a gay American" was his pitch for social martyrdom, but the New Jersey governor's shameless bid to hide the mushrooming corruption probes didn't work. He was about to be exposed for hiring his boy toy at $110,000 to be an anti-terror aide, and that is the real reason McGreevey quit. His wife, who gives new meaning to "out of the loop," is now living separately with their daughter while McGreevey is free to be himself, assuming probers don't charge him.

    That's shameful. And a perfect credential for the Hall of Shame.

    Michael Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News Comment by clicking here.


    12/27/04: Call off the scalp hunt
    12/13/04: Life catches up to Bernie
    11/25/04: Dan's fall is Nixonian: Rather's smearing of his critics was even worse than the bogus hit on W
    11/23/04: Forget about Bubba: Clinton still craves the spotlight, but he's no longer relevant
    11/18/04: Prez, by ignoring race, makes racial history
    11/08/04: Bush won — get used to it
    10/29/04: This isn't an election, it's a living nightmare
    10/27/04: Why Teresa Heinz Kerry is such a flake
    10/14/04: Kerry's scary on terrorism: Unchanged by 9/11, he says, and no real ideas about what to do
    10/05/04: The Big Mo still looking for its lover
    09/28/04: What we're up against: The war on terror & the war in Iraq are now one and the same
    09/14/04: Media bias is doing nation a disservice
    08/18/04: Kerry confusion will soon be unforgivable
    07/29/04: Why are the wackadoos still dear to Dems' hearts?
    07/21/04: Kerry couldn't say no: Hillary waffle was just part of a wimpy week

    © 2004, New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.