Saturday, December 16, 2006

Joe Bruno's Giving out Ponies?
Joe Bruno is a powerful NYS legislator, he's also a great friend of wealthy businessman Jared Abbruzzese. This NYTimes article outlines their special relationship. From the article:
His love of horses inspired Mr. Abbruzzese to join a group of investors competing to operate the state’s thoroughbred horse racing tracks. And now Mr. Bruno, his friend and occasional companion at horse racing events, will play a central role in awarding that franchise.
The franchise entails operating the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga tracks, which take in a combined $2.7 billion in bets each year.
Over the past four years, two of Mr. Abbruzzese’s companies have contributed more than $118,000 to a campaign committee controlled by Mr. Bruno. Mr. Abbruzzese’s wife bought property for $90,000 from a group involving Mr. Bruno. Mr. Bruno has also flown on Mr. Abbruzzese’s private jet at least half a dozen times. And in a February 2005 transaction that has not been previously reported, Mr. Bruno bought 2,000 shares in a small Texas securities brokerage in which Mr. Abbruzzese was intimately involved. Mr. Bruno says he invested in the firm, Tejas Inc., after discussing it with Mr. Abbruzzese.
Over the same period, Mr. Bruno, the Legislature’s most powerful Republican, has been helpful to Mr. Abbruzzese. He has directed at least $500,000 in state money to Evident Technologies, a small, privately held nanotechnology firm that Mr. Abbruzzese financed. He was also instrumental in obtaining $2.5 million in state aid for a joint development project involving Evident and Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., last year.

As the article states, beyond likely illegal plane rides on Abbruzzese's jet, many of Bruno's financial conflicts of interest might be barely legal and just beyond the reach of law; that doesn't make them beyond being obviously crooked. I find myself wanting to re-post most of the article. There are many dirty smelling connections between Bruno and Abbruzzese. The article's worth a read.