Bruno Cashes In
by Buck Quigley
Old politicians never die…they just accept lucrative positions as lobbyists
Former State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who resigned his legislative post on July 18, is a legend in upscale Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties, the district he served in the State Senate since 1976. And if you don’t believe it, you can look at any one of the dozen buildings in that area that are named for him. Baseball fans near Troy watch the Houston Astro affiliate Tri-City ValleyCats play ball in Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. To call him a big fish there is an understatement.
He was like Moby Dick to former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s Ahab. Spitzer obsessively worked to discredit Bruno in the press, including ordering State Police to track him and produce politically damaging documents against him—up until Spitzer himself was swallowed whole by a different monster, and vanished.
Even the Federal Bureau of Investigations has been harboring a strange fascination with Bruno. For the past few years they’ve been looking into his outside business interests, including his 10-year involvement with Wright Investor’s Service, a company that manages pension investments for various labor unions whose concerns were backed by the Senator. The scrutiny prompted Bruno to sever ties with the company last December.
At the time he left, Bruno pointed out that legislators are “part-time” workers. (For clarity, the base salary of these “part-timers” is $80,000/year, plus substantial stipends for those in leadership positions.) And besides, New York State has no law compelling a lawmaker to disclose his income, activities, or associates.
The fact that Bruno runs a breeding farm for thoroughbred horses, then, is really just an example of a guy trying to eke out a living working several jobs. He still has to brush his racehorses the same as the rest of us. Except…I guess maybe he has somebody to do that for him, but you get my point.
The FBI has also been interested in Bruno’s fellow horse enthusiast Jared Abbruzzese, who gave the senator private flights and provided money to his consulting firm—yes, he had a consulting firm of his own while serving as a senator—even as Bruno was giving half-a-million dollar state grants to Abbruzzese’s business. There have also been questionable real estate dealings involving the two.
Clearly, the 79-year-old Bruno is a mover and a shaker. That’s why CMA Consulting hired the retiree to be their new CEO. The company, which was founded by SUNY Board of Trustees member Kay Stafford (widow of former Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Stafford), racked up $22,404,765 worth of contracts with the State of New York over the past four years alone.
There’s no telling what this up-and-comer may be able to accomplish in his new role—both for his employer, and for the taxpayers of New York State.
—buck quigleyblog comments powered by Disqus
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v7n30: Infringe Yourself (7/24/08) > The News, Briefly > Bruno Cashes In
This Week's Issue • Artvoice Daily • Artvoice TV • Events Calendar • Classifieds