Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The big day of sentencing for the great Joe Bruno is upon us. He has faced Judge Gary Sharpe for the last time. It's almost hard to believe this day is finally here. It's been some imaginary concept for so long that I cant wrap my mind around it.

The title is"Operation Green Pastures" because that's what the FBI initially called the case when this whole investigation started. Seems appropriate considering the interconnected horse trading that was going on behind the scenes, both figuratively and in reality.

I found this statement in the Albany Times Union: In January 2009, seven months after Bruno abruptly resigned his Senate post, he was indicted on eight felony counts of theft of honest services. The allegations handed up by a federal grand jury charged Bruno with using his political muscle to secretly enrich himself through business deals riddled with conflicts and hidden from the public.

Fast Jets, Fast horses and fast labor deals are what finally caught up with Bruno. He has been in one of the most influential positions in New York State for decades where he obviously thought nothing could hurt his reputation or threaten his freedom. Now at 81, he is facing possible jail time coupled with over $280,000 in restitution to cover court costs and fines.

The ATU also had this: Initially, federal authorities this began as an examination by FBI agents in Albany of private jet flights Bruno received from Abbruzzese, a millionaire telecommunications consultant who had a stake in Bruno's legislative powers and a shared interest in race horses. Abbruzzese was part of a group that pursued the state's multi-billion-dollar contract running the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga horse tracks, which was part of the reason the FBI tied the case's code name to thoroughbreds.

This is where the public is suspect of some of the other state officials who had ties with Bruno. People who serve on boards, State Senators connected to the gaming industry and the horse breeders themselves. The whole circle of corruption has placed even more negative connotation on an already frowned upon Legislative body.

FBI Agent-In-Charge John Pikus was quoted: "It's always tough and a challenge to investigate an individual who has made a profound impact in the community." It;s true, you'll find many a building, stadium or park with Joe Bruno's name on it peppered across the state. However, it is important to remember, these places, as fabulous as they are, are paid for with New York taxpayer funds and not out of his personal accounts.

Pikus also said: "Initially, it was just a couple agents looking in some public records, reading your articles, seeing what else was out there, then they started from there saying there may be something here where we have a relationship between Bruno and a few individuals that seemed kind of fishy."

Will Sharpe give Bruno the full eight years that federal prosecuters are asking for? I doubt it. Considering his age, the fines, and tarnished reputation, he will probably get much less and be forced to live out his days with the title of ex-con. I should point out, If sentenced to prison, he will have six months to report to a facility. Will he wait until the weeks leading up to election day so we can replay the connection to Larkin and the rest of the Bruno 22? That would an appropriate "screw you" to the many who reaped the benefits of their actions without paying the price...don't you think?

UPDATE; Judge Gary Sharpe has given Joe Bruno a two year sentence.


Anonymous said...

The saga of Joe Bruno and his dramatic fall from power will not end with his sentencing on felony charges on May 6th. Several of the so-called "Bruno 22" including our own Bill Larkin had strong connections to Mr. Bruno and his activities during his reign as majority leader in the state senate. Larkin had powerful influence when the Republicans were in charge in the insurance and horse racing committees. He also testified that he helped Bruno lobby labor unions. During testimony in his trial, it was made clear that Bruno and his "buddies" in the senate lobbied labor unions on behalf of an upstate investment firm, Wright Investments, to help them get new clients. Wright Investments had close ties with Mr. Bruno. A lot of loose ends were left untied at the end of Bruno's trial. It is an ongoing investigation and as the saying goes "it ain't over till the fat lady sings."

Anonymous said...

Bruno deserves whatever time in prison he is given. After watching Bruno's trial, does anybody else think that Alan Hevesi got off very lightly in the deal he made, especially in light of what we have learned of his dirty dealings since he made his deal and left office.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that Democrats are probably involved too!! Not one party is to blame for the corruption in the NYS senate. Maybe Sheldon Silver should be investigated as an individual that wields a lot of power.Cannot always rise to the top without some back door deals.

Anonymous said...

1:34, Do you have anything on that or are you just speculating, or even dreaming?

Just because Bruno was not above board in some of his dealings, does not mean everyone in Albany is like him. There is a big difference between illegal activities and wielding a lot of political power. Trying to drag Silver into this is ridiculous. He has never been accused of doing anything illegal, only showing favoritism to NYC and using his political power to the extreme.

Anonymous said...

Treat him like any regular white-collar criminal. Give him jail time, even if it’s in one of those “resort” style, minimum security prisons. Minimum sentence: one year
He should pay back all the money he made illegally, plus interest and any gains he made from investing it.
He should also be forced to give up a portion of his pension.

Anonymous said...

And what political Power extremes might that be 4:42? Once somebody is in power for long periods of time, the more their thoughts turn to entitlement and with that comes a slide into, possibly, corruption. All the more reason for term limits so that the politicians do not get too entrenched and start to believe that they can do anything. A lot of that caused Bruno's downfall. He originally started out many decades ago with an altruistic motivation but was swayed by the "dark side" for power and greed.