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Monday, December 15, 2008

New York Readies: Batten Down The Hatches

Bruno indictment likely - pals
The New York Daily News by Elizabeth Benjamin - December 14, 2008

Pals of former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno are bracing themselves for his possible indictment - which an ally of the one-time GOP powerhouse said is 80% likely - before the year is out. "The sense is that they spent all this time turning over every rock and they can't just let it go without doing something," a source close to Bruno said. Federal prosecutors have been investigating the ex-majority leader's outside business interests for three years. Bruno is "prepared for the worst, but isn't going to let it affect the way he handles himself," the source said. Bruno's lawyer William Dreyer, a former U.S. attorney for the Albany area, declined to comment. The former Senate leader has insisted he did nothing wrong, and his allies think any case against him will be "weak." Still, an indictment could hurt Bruno's fledgling lobbying career. His firm, CMA Consulting Services, has close to $30 million in state government contracts. Observers surmise prosecutors want to wrap up the Bruno probe before President-elect Barack Obama takes office next month and brings in his team.

Several subpoenas have been issued in recent weeks, and associates of Bruno - including a former Senate staffer, lobbyists and people involved in the horse-racing industry - testified before a grand jury. Bruno, a Rensselaer County resident first elected to the state Senate in 1976, surprised observers with his abrupt announcement in June that he would not seek reelection. He resigned from the Senate in July after more than 13 years as majority leader - one of the storied "three men in a room," along with the Assembly speaker and the governor, who largely control the state Capitol. It was widely speculated that Bruno's surprise departure was the result of a deal he struck with prosecutors to avoid indictment. He has denied that was the case. Bruno first revealed he was under investigation in December 2006. The probe's focus started with a consulting firm Bruno ran out of his house. It expanded to include a Connecticut investment firm - which employed the former senator and was used by New York labor unions - as well as Bruno's horse-breeding endeavors, land deals and state-funded economic development grants.

GOP or 'nothing' for Gang?

The Gang of Three saga continues. Now that the Senate leadership stalemate is back in high gear after the death of the rebels' deal with Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), a Republican lawmaker says the GOP is the last best hope for the renegades. "It's likely they will end up with nothing," Sen. George Winner of Elmira said of the gang. "Their only ability to save themselves really from complete back-bench material is to vote with the Republicans. "Assume we gave [Smith] the votes to be leader, what happens to the Gang of Three? They become completely irrelevant. Therefore, the best thing for them to do is vote for us." Sen. Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat and the Gang of Three ringleader, called Winner "a voice in the wilderness," and insisted "negotiations are ongoing" between himself and fellow detractors Sen.-elect Pedro Espada Jr. and Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. Kruger also said the "urgency" of the state's ever-worsening budget crisis will likely bring the leadership fight to a "quick conclusion." Smith spokesman Austin Shafran said he could not confirm any talks between Smith and the Gang of Three. He also insisted Smith has not reached out to any GOP senators seeking the three votes he needs to become leader.


Anonymous said...

This guy HAS to pay the price for what he has done!

Anonymous said...

anyone know if this is being guided by career professionals at DOJ like out of DC or just Andrew Baxter of the NDNY since it seems much of Bruno's business has been throughout NY and even other states? What about all the Staten Island donations? One upstater thought he had ties in to a trucking company hauling loads out of the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island?

Anonymous said...

Hey Joey, if you think that they are going to take you down, don't forget that you know where a lot of bodies are buried. Spitzer told you that he was going to take you down and he went away with his tail between his legs to his rich daddy. Put the hurt on them all, after all, who are they, nobody's look for a job.

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