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Friday, January 23, 2009

Bruno indicted, Traded Power for Money

Bruno indicted
Grand jurors accuse Bruno of trading power for money
The Albany Times Union by BRENDAN J. LYONS AND JAMES M. ODATO - January 23, 2009

ALBANY - A federal grand jury today indicted former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno on felony charges alleging he used his position to extract $3.2 million in private consulting fees from clients who sought to purchase his influence. A defiant Bruno blasted the U.S. Attorney's Office, calling it "politicized," and described FBI as "overzealous." Bruno described the 8-count indictment handed up today as "a three-year fishing expedition that . . . stinks." The 79-year-old Republican faces corruption charges that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Bruno pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Albany and was released without bail. In a 35-page indictment filed at noon, grand jurors asked Bruno to forfeit much of his fortune and assets for his alleged crimes. Bruno, who reigned for years as one of the most powerful lawmakers in New York, is charged with using his office to deprive the public of the honest services of government. The indictment marks the culmination of a three-year FBI investigation into the shadowy public and private dealings of the Brunswick politician who rose through the ranks of state government and became arguably the Capital Region's most iconic political leader. Bruno retired from his state Senate seat in July after 32 years in legislative service. He is now a lobbyist, chief executive of friend Kay Stafford's Latham company, CMA Consulting.

The indictment lays out Bruno's alleged deceptions, such as not disclosing his dealings to ethics authorities. It describes "schemes" involving use of his public office to do business with labor unions, who he steered to Wright Investors Service, a Connecticut firm that paid him nearly $1.4 million from 1994 to 2006, and McGinn, Smith & Co., an Albany investment firm that paid Bruno $632,116 from 1993 to 2005. The firms ended up receiving investment advisory fees or brokerage fees paid by the union benefit funds. People named in the indictment were Bruno's friends Leonard J. Fassler, Jared E. Abbruzzese and Russell C. Ball who paid Bruno hundreds of thousands of dollars for alleged consulting services, even though Bruno provided virtually no consulting. Only Bruno was charged, although the actions of his associates were unflattering.

In one case, Abbruzzese paid Bruno $80,000 for a nearly worthless horse raised by Bruno at his thoroughbred breeding business at his farm and home in Brunswick. The investigation had dogged Bruno during the last two years of his political career as information surfaced publicly about the FBI's deep foray into his real-estate dealings, investments, political decisions and his ownership and breeding of thoroughbred horses. The ''honest services'' provision of federal statutes has been used repeatedly by federal prosecutors to take down some of the nation's corrupt government officials and lobbyists. The broadly written law, which was inserted into federal statutes 20 years ago by Congress, prohibits public officials from using the mail or interstate communications to deprive the public of an inherent "right to honest services." Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio of Queens is awaiting trial under a similar indictment.

The law has become a favored weapon of many prosecutors because it does not require a quid pro quo, which is often difficult to prove in the world of pay-to-play politics where multimillion-dollar deals and campaign fund payoffs are known to be arranged with winks and nods. Bruno maintained that the federal prosecutors invented a crime to stick on him while letting former Gov. Eliot Spitzer off the hook for what Bruno called admitted felonies. The former Democratic governor, a foe of Bruno, resigned in 2008 after he was identified as a patron of an expensive call-girl service. "This is not the first time we have seen deeply flawed, dysfunctional or even illegal behavior by those with prosecutorial power," Bruno said. He said looks forward to a public trial. The investigation began three years ago, when FBI agents from a white-collar crime unit in Albany began examining a series of private jet flights provided to Bruno by people with whom he did business both politically and privately, a source close to the case said. The chartered jet flights, in some cases worth thousands of dollars per hour, ferried Bruno to private vacations in South Florida, political fundraisers, government functions and at least once to Kentucky horse country.

The FBI's interest in the flights was triggered, in part, by a related inquiry by the state's now-defunct lobbying commission, according to a source familiar with the investigation, and focused on Abbruzzese, a Loundonville businessman, race horse enthusiast and jet owner. The FBI's examination quickly expanded and agents began sifting through bank records related to a private consulting firm Bruno ran from his Brunswick home. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that Bruno was paid through that firm serve as the foundation of many of the counts listed in the indictment. 

Bruno abruptly resigned from that firm, Wright Investors Service of Milford, Conn., last year. He has repeatedly declined to disclose how much he was paid as its employee and has refused to identify his personal consulting clients. Five months ago, Bruno resigned from the Senate seat he held since 1976. To many, he left a legacy as an iconic Capital Region politician who rose from an impoverished childhood to become one of the three most powerful elected officials in state government. But he had developed a taste for fine things nice cars, jet travel and expensive suits.    Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at blyons@timesunion.com; James M. Odato can be reached at 454-5083 or at jodato@timesunion.com.

******** BLOOMBERG NEWS REPORT:

Former N.Y. Senate Leader Bruno Charged With Fraud
Bloomberg News by Martin Z. Braun - January 23, 2009

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Joseph Bruno, the former leader of the New York State Senate, was indicted on federal corruption charges. Bruno, a Republican who retired last year after almost 32 years as a state lawmaker representing Rensselaer and Saratoga counties, failed to disclose he was paid more than $2 million to solicit union pension funds on behalf of two brokers, according to an eight-count indictment unsealed in Albany. He is also accused of lobbying for three individuals pursuing state business, receiving $1.2 million. The indictment said Bruno exploited “his official position for personal compensation and enrichment, knowing and believing that his reasonably perceived ability to influence official action would, at least in part, motivate those he contacted to enter into financial relationships beneficial to his personal financial interests.” 

From March 1994 to December 2006, Wright Investors’ Service of Milford, Connecticut paid Bruno $1.37 million after 11 union pension or annuity funds hired the firm to manage a portion of their assets. Bruno “routinely” didn’t disclose to the unions that he was working for Wright nor disclose to the public or lawmakers he was being paid by the firm, the indictment said. He is also accused of taking unspecified actions to benefit the unions. He was arraigned earlier this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Homer in Albany. If convicted, Bruno faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count of the indictment.

‘Been the Target’

“I have been the target of a “Get Joe Bruno Campaign,’” Bruno said in a statement issued after he was indicted. Bruno said a jury will find him innocent and politically motivated federal prosecutors overreached in their accusations. Charges that he defrauded the state and citizens of their right to his “honest services” will send “a frightening message to all elected officials who are not wealthy.” Lawmakers could “become target practice with a statute that can infer, insinuate, and imply because they can’t find the facts to make a criminal case.” Bruno, 79, disclosed in December 2006 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing his private business dealings. At a June 2008 press conference in Albany, Bruno said he was retiring and the probe wasn’t part of his decision. “I’ve never been accused of anything and don’t expect to be,” Bruno said. “I’ve never done anything wrong.”

Outside Interests

Since selling a telecommunications business in 1990 he helped found, Bruno worked with Capital Business Consultants of Albany, offering business development and strategy advice. From the Senate, Bruno guided state government along with Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, the Democratic leader of the Assembly, and former Governor George Pataki, a Republican whose 12-year tenure ended in 2006. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law ranked the Legislature as the most dysfunctional in the U.S. during a four-year period ending in 2004. To contact the reporters on this story: Martin Z. Braun in New York at mbraun6@bloomberg.net.

To Read the Indictment CLICK HERE

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

But your actions made YOU wealthy Joe..... and you're not supposed to do that......

An Expert on this Stuff said...

Poor Joe. He can't help it. He was born with malfeasance on his spoon.

Anonymous said...

THE WHOLE PICTURE IS COMING IN TO FOCUS!

3 CHEERS FOR FRANK BRADY!

3 CHEERS FOR FRANK BRADY!

3 CHEERS FOR FRANK BRADY!

HEROIC AND GALLANT EFFORTS!

hudson valley region

One of the Bunch said...

Hey ! Whats up wid dat? I happen to know Frank Brady. Frank Brady ain't so hot. Just ax him.

One of the Bunch said...

January 16, 2009

Honorable John L. Sampson
New York State Senator and
Chairman of the NYS Judiciary Committee
506 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247

Senator; and staff

While you are accepting input on the confirmation of Jonathon Lippman as our new Chief Judge, I beseech you and the Committee to investigate and subsequently shut down the scandalous fraud machine that masquerades as the civil legal system for the State of New York. After years of up close and personal experiences with our honorable third branch, I can attest with 100% conviction that this subterfuge constitutes one of the greatest consumer frauds in the world. I have been suffering this disgusting fraud and nonfeasance for more than a decade. It has cost me, at age 59, the loss of my career, loss of income, my professional licenses, personal relationships and essentially everything else I once had in life. I expect it will soon cost me my home and property, and, it STILL WANTS MORE.

Due to fraudulently obtained money judgments entered on my record by AAG Carlos Rodriguez; Dept. of Law, I am no longer bondable; and thus no longer employable in my profession of my choice [securities] for the last sixteen [16] years. Without income I can't pay my mortgage, while the void money judgments, laundered clean by supreme court Judge Tom VanStrydonck, poison the marketability of my property. So all I can do is wait for foreclosure.

I have petitioned every court in New York for relief from these patently void judgments. In fact, I have been incurring continuous expenses of $800-$1,000 a year for the past decade to simply free myself of the crippling consequences of courts that NEVER had authority to act against me in the first place. While that may be a welcomed annuity for the mob controlled judiciary, my family and I want our lives and our money back. For cryin' out loud this is not even tax deductible.

This constructive extortion hasn't come without warning. Tom Jefferson gave the first 'heads up' when he wrote: “The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will.” He observed that 'judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, power, and privilege of their corps……..they consider themselves secure for life; they sculk from responsibility to public opinion.

BE IT KNOWN that the judges I have encountered over the last (15) fifteen years are as 'sculking' and corrupt as reincarnated Nazis. In fact, they use the same tactics; never admit a fault or wrong; never accept blame; never leave room for alternatives, and 'tell a lie big enough, and often enough, and the People will eventually begin to believe it”

To my very profound misfortune, I have become an expert on this cancerous, openly encroaching Crisis of Accountability in our judiciary. To describe the life-altering injuries it has inflicted on me as atrocious, barbaric, cruel, inhuman, sadistic, savage, uncivilized and/or vulgar, is tantamount to describing the Grand Canyon as 'a big hole in the ground'. I have filed complaints of judicial misconduct and criminal nonfeasance, written letters to my honorable senators and congressmen, the FBI and the DOJ until I was blue in the face. I estimate collectively to have written, copied, filed in the courts and served on the Attorney General infinite volumes of sworn allegations and supporting documentation. All of it proving to be an absolute waste of time and money.

In the final analysis nothing I have ever filed, alleged, deposed, asserted, requested, paid for, and/or prayed for, and/or demanded from any "court of law" has made any difference whatsoever on the outcome. After sacrificing what should have been the most productive of my life to this black hole; this litigation vortex, the only thing I have accomplished is to get myself ambushed, abused, falsely accused, sua sponte, summarily sanctioned and fined by fiat, wrongfully prosecuted and incarcerated, twice, by courts acting without jurisdiction, disfranchised of my First Amendment right, trashed, abandoned, and forgotten by common thugs and hoodlums who control New York's honorable courtrooms.

I have seen the enemy. Incredibly it is our own honorable third branch. Our judiciary always wins. It always protects itself and even it's corrupt colleagues. It's perceived adversaries are infinitely more inclined to find a little justice by simply 'howling at the moon..... "And so it goes in the Litigation Vortex ; on stage of the Holodeck court, where nothing is as it appears, and where plaintiff is never to be seen again -- with money."

I beseech you, and the Committee. WHO and when will someone stop this runaway train of fraud and judicial unaccountability? I submit that the next beloved American hero will be the one who finally puts the 'squash' on absolute judicial immunity. Please ask Judge Lippman if he agrees, and what he may be inclined to do about the Crisis in our judiciary.

Thank You


Kevin Patrick Brady
East Rochester

barbara from the bronx said...

To the fool who wants to ax Frank Brady, I ask you what have you done to bring light to the serious problems throughout the NYS judiciary. Post your website so we can see what you are doing. Stop complaining, you idiot. Ever hear of "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem?"

You're either part of the problem as your employer is OCA, or you're a victim who can't stop crying long enough to pay attention to the importance of attacking the real enemy here: corrupt people within OCA.

One of the Bunch said...

Hey Bronx Barbie. Lighten Up will ya. Couldnt you tell I was only joking? sheeeeeeeeeesh

Anonymous said...

Any connection between Bruno and the Westchester Matrimonial Court
Supreme and/or Family???

P. Stephen Lamont: CEO-Iviewit; Lead Appellant 08cv4873 said...

...hopefully, the tentacles lead everywhere.

A GREAT MIND said...

Mr. P. Stephen

How did get your link onto the blog?

Inquiring Minds, etc...you know the rest.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2