Friday, March 11, 2011

No Ethic Reform in Albany Will Stop Bribery and Secret Bank Accounts; How Albany Operates Like the Mob; U.S. Attorney: Albany's Groundhog Day

Elaborately Disguised Fronts, Influence Peddling, Bribery

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara depict Carl Kruger as putting a price tag on virtually every official act you can think of, then routing his payoffs through elaborately disguised fronts. Transcripts from wiretaps make plain that Kruger was leery of being overheard. An associate used "memos" as code for "checks." And he counseled not to put anything in writing: "All emails are never innocuous ... even the weather report," he was caught saying on tape.  According to the FBI Kruger always spoke cryptically and made sure to funnel payments through shell corporations. The extensive alleged "bribery, money laundering, influence peddling and official misconduct [was] eye-opening even to seasoned investigators," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk. READ THE COMPLAINT (PDF) * Indicted state Sen. Carl Kruger is the poster boy for sleaze that afflicts New York's Legislature (DN) * A.M. Roundup: $1 million in bribes (TU)* Albany's Hall of Shame: Corruption Ordeal Gets Worse (WNBC TV) * Corruption: If GOP doesn't like Kruger, why did they give him a chairmanship and money? [Dan Janison]

 The City's DA are a Joke . . .  Not Involved In Any of the Major Arrests of Pols



In 2009 True News Wrote: 

How Albany Operates Like the Mob

Hidden Accounts, Payoffs and No Papers Records 

The FBI Agrees  The methodical complaint filed by FBI agent Julie Brown described how the bureau bugged Kruger's phone and shadowed him at restaurant meetings. The same way the FBI investigates and breaks up the mob. Sure sounds like the move. Kruger accepting bribes to obtain state money for Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, Queens and to oppose a big box store in Brooklyn; and of doling out $500,000 in state funds to one of Mr. Lipsky’s clients.  Just like the mob Kruger used the bribes to bankroll a lavish lifestyle, financing a four-door Bentley Arnage and a $2 million waterfront home originally built for a boss of the Luchese crime family.  Unlike in Joe Bruno’s case, the “theft of honest services” charge is likely to stick here, in spite of the US Supreme Court decision.


Money Kills Reform

Even if the reform talked about in Albany passed, it will not catch the corruption of Kruger or most of the the other crooks in Albany.  Only the FBI or A Moreland Commission with stings against elected officials could catch this type of corruption.  There is so much money and the culture of Albany accepts elected officials to tap into millions of dollars beyond member items, that it makes ever reform rule just a nuisance to easily go around. Kruger amassed at least $1 million in bribes in return for political favors: helping hospitals seeking to merge, obtaining state money for real-estate developers, expanding the business hours of liquor stores Cuomo: Pass ethics reform, or else * Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened lawmakersa Moreland Act Commission if they don’t pass ethics reform.


Record Lobbyists Dollars is Pouring Oil On the Albany Corruption

The record number of dollars give to lobbyists it the biggest enable to keep the corrupt system going.Drink makers lead $211M lobby gusher (NYP) Pouring nearly $13 million into a successful campaign to defeat Paterson's effort to impose a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages. 



Andy flubs big chance at cleaning up Capitol cesspool (Dicker, NYP)


Pay to Play Lobbyist
Lobbyist Richard Lipsky allegedly paid part of his fees to Kruger, who then pushed Lipsky's agenda, including efforts to ban big-box retailers like Walmart from New York. (An FBI raid of Lipsky's house uncovered $100,000 in cash and $4,000 in "crisp" bills in his suit pocket.). At the time the agents were searching Mr. Lipsky's home, 26 calls were placed from Mr. Kruger's phone to Mr. Lipsky's phone every few minutes from roughly 9:55 a.m. until 12:25 p.m., according to a complaint.* Corruption: Lobbyist Richard Lipsky fashioned himself a defender of underdogs. [David Halbfinger] *  Busted Lobbyist Explains Why He's Not Blogging (NYO) * Corruption: Where Kruger steered money. [Brooklyn Ink]

Albany Lobbyist Above the Law
Hevesi fallout widens to include Rattner, Global Strategy Group * Andrew Cuomo pay-to-play pension probe nails Hevesi pal Patricia Lynch Lobbyist Hank Sheinkopf Took the 5th in the Aquduct gambling investigations * Lobbyist Bill Lynch set up a meeting with Rev. Flake with Patterson, even though Lynch was a lobbyist against a company against Flacke  

4 is Company

NYP: Kruger Gay

  Gay pol's $1 mil 'bribe' out-rage

 Political favors for more than $1 million in bribes over the last five years -- which his live-in boyfriend helped launder, the feds charged yesterday. Kruger's constant companion, Turano, is accused of using bribe money he deposited in two shell companies for Kruger to pay the lease on a Bentley luxury sedan, credit-card bills and the mortgage on the garish, multimillion-dollar Mill Basin home where the two men for years have shacked up with Turano's mom and brother, authorities and neighbors said. Lobbyist Lipsky allegedly funneled money to Mr. Kruger through bank accounts connected to an intimate friend of the senator, Dr. Michael Turano, a gynecologist from Mill Basin who was also charged. Michael Turano controlled a shell company, Olympian Strategic Development, that served as Kruger's indirect ATM.  Olympian got $472,500 from developer Aaron Malinsky over several years to back his Brooklyn projects. * Corruption: "Mr. Kruger had all but moved in with the Turanos." [Nick Confessore] * N.Y. Post on Embattled Lawmaker: 'Closeted' and 'Gay' * State Senator Carl Kruger Basically Outed, "Intimate" Relationship With Friend Detailed * State senator who voted against gay marriage has a 'gay lover' who helped ...Daily Mail * State Sen. Kruger's Constituents Stunned About Corruption Charges (WNYC) * Corruption: "[P]lenty of secretly gay politicians who opposed gay marriage; Kruger appears to be the first secretly gay-married pol to have done so." [Gawker]

 Albany Pols See Hospitals As Cash Cows . . .  Parkway Closed

Happen to Serving the Public?

Kruger and Boyland also benefitted from a battle between two hospitals to win Albany approval for their expansion plans, prosecutors say. Boyland was put on the payroll as a "no-show consultant" for one side of the battle, BrookdaleBrookdale and its rival, Parkway Hospital, prosecutors say. Federal charges against Carl Kruger, William Boyland prove Albany is way overdue for ethics reform (DN Ed)Kruger, Boyland and most of the defendants were released without bail after appearances in Manhattan Federal Court. A magistrate ignored prosecutors' request to make Kruger put up $1 million bond. * State Sen. Kruger among eight people slapped with corruption chargesState Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland surrender to feds to face bribe rap (DN) * State Senator, State Assemblyman Surrender On Federal Corruption Charges (NY1) * Graft Charges Depict Kruger’s Lavish Lifestyle * Eight Charged in Albany Bribe Scheme(WSJ)


Ratner's Lobbyist Payoffs: Pay to Play

The complaint said Mr. Kruger last year tried to help a developer and client of Mr. Lipsky’s — not named but easily recognizable as Forest City Ratner — to obtain money for three projects: $9 million for the Carlton Avenue Bridge, $2 million for a retail development in Mill Basin and $4 million for the renovation of the skating rink in Prospect Park. A spokesman for Forest City Ratner, Joe DePlacso, said, "It did not come as a surprise that the head of government affairs at Forest City Ratner is speaking to elected officials." The company has ended Mr. Lipsky's contract.  The dark genius of Ratner flack Joe DePlasco--and how some resist  Joe DePlasco of Dan Klores Communications * “Real Estate Developer No. 1″ is assumed to be Forest City Ratner. * A top Atlantic Yards executive pressed Kruger for millions of dollars to fund the controversial development, as well as a new ice-skating rink for Prospect Park, court documents reveal. (Patch)

U.S. Attorney: Lawmakers Do Not Appear to Learn
"When prosecutors charge politicians, it shouldn't seem like a scene from 'Groundhog Day' -- and yet it does," said US Attorney Preet Bharara.  The Albany rackets (NYP Ed) "It seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button,” Bharara Bharara cited the many state lawmakers indicted by the feds in recent years: Sens. Vincent Leibell (R-Hudson Valley), Pedro Espada (D-Bronx), Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens), Efrain Gonzalez (D-Bronx), Queens Assemblymen Brian McLaughlin and Anthony Seminerio . . . *  Capitol Confidential » Bharara: Stop hitting the snooze button, Albany (TU)

Lobbyist Kill City Campaign Finance Law in Court

City Board Grapples With a New Law on Campaign Finance Rules The Campaign Finance Board must devise rules to administer the new law, a response to a Supreme Court decision allowing corporations and unions to spend an unlimited amount in candidate elections.(NYT) *  Cynical Non-Enforcers Gridlock is the name of the game at the Federal Election Commission, where three Republican members block any punishment of even the most blatant violators. (NYT ed)

 Organized Crime Politics Charted
13 state lawmakers left office under a cloud in the last six years - compared with just four in the previous six-year period.

- Former Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) was indicted last year for misusing funds at his Bronx health clinics.
- Ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) was expelled last year after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.
- Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) was convicted of criminal mischief in December for scuffling with a photographer.
- Ex-sen. Vincent Leibell (R-Putnam) resigned last year before copping to corruption charges.
- The late Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Queens) was convicted of taking $1 million in payoffs from hospitals. He died in jail in January.
- Ex-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) was convicted on two corruption counts in December 2009. He is trying to get the  conviction tossed out. * Corruption: One case still kept sealed. [Times Union] * State GOP Chairman Ed Cox said corruption at the Capitol is mostly a Democratic problem, but then backed off that statement when reminded of former Sen. Vincent Leibell’s case.

Killed the Building of Kruger Home

Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, the Luchese crime family boss who poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the house Mr. Kruger and the Turanos share, never moved in. And, apparently worried that the architect who designed it knew about illegal activities, he ordered him killed.

St. Vincent's Developers Vs Community Continues

St. Vincent’s Deal Would Provide Emergency Care (NYT) * Meet St. Vincent's Replacement(WSJ) * St. Vincent's Deal Stirs Local Opposition (WSJ) 


Michelle Rhee: New York Needs Its Best Teachers in the Classroom Layoffs by seniority are unfair to top performers, and they shortchange kids. It's time for Gov. Cuomo to step up. (WSJ) *  City Comptroller Rejects Contract to Recruit New Teachers (NYT) * Liu rejects teacher recruiting contract amidst layoff plans(DN) *Charter schoolkids' elite status slipping (NYP) * NY1 Exclusive: Hundreds Of City Schools Use Dirty, Dangerous Heating Oil (NY1) *Lawmakers Demand Faster Action On PCBs In Schools(NY1)

Daily News Kiss Bloomberg Ass More Than Quinn

Move to Sixth Ave. next year will open a whole new era for Macy's famous Thanksgiving Day Parade (DN Ed) * Ruffled turkey feathers (NYP)

City Says State Is Forcing Cuts to Program for the Homeless (NYT)

NYC Homeless Services Commissioner On Threat To Advantage Shelter Program: "Devastating" (DN)


 Budget Battle 3 Weeks to Go
There are only three more weeks until the state budget is due, and battle lines are drawn over Gov. Cuomo's cuts to school funding and whether to continue to tax the state's highest income earners to pay for education and other state spending. (NCPR) *  In an op-ed, Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Megna, seeks to beat back criticism of the governor’s proposed cuts to the state’s 11 schools for the deaf and blind. (LoHud) *  New York City Budget Director Mark Page is asking agencies to prepare for another $600 million in possible cuts for next fiscal year. (AP) * Gov. Cuomo has identified increased Medicaid costs as a result of Medical CPI. Cutbacks must be part of the '11 budget.  * Glick Targets Hospital Execs (YNN) * Fair Weather Friends (YNN) * Med Mal Fight Continues *  New York Mulls Caps On Medical-Malpractice Verdicts (Forbes)



Brooklyn's Bike Civil War

Residents Face Off Over Brooklyn Bike Lane (NYT) * Fight Over Prospect Park Bike Lane Heats Up At Park Slope Meeting (NY1)

Law and Order  Girl, 16, Charged in Attack Using Acid(WSJ) * School 'splash & burn' attack (NYP) * Teen Faces Assault Charges Following Acid Attack (NY1) * Student Douses Classmate With Acid in Chemistry Class (NYT)Violent thugs bringing their victims to tears - with onions (DN) * If Son of Sam Were on the Loose Today (NYT) * Quick-thinking cops save dying baby(NYP) * To Burgle in Brooklyn Heights, No Heavy Equipment Needed (NYT) *   * Jury Deadlocks in Third Trial for Suspect in ’96 Killings(NYT) * Missing N.J. Couple Found in Trunk (WSJ) * Busted ex-prep schooler Afrika Owes is innocent, her beau says (DN) * ''Broken bottle scam' messy for grifter with 20-to-life sentence (DN)* Corpses of missing couple found in trunk of car (DN) * Drunk driver in fatal wrong way crash on LIE gets 10 1/2 years (DN) * Police Hunt Man Who Fatally Stabbed Ex-Wife In Hair Salon (NY1) * Dopey 'thieves' 'Rob' pot seller who tells cops (NP) * Fatal stab at salon Husband hunted (NYP)It's Swede justice for scam thug (NYP) * Police To Brooklyn Heights: Lock Your Doors (Huff Post) * ‘Career’ Con Artist Louis Parson Gets Life In Prison For Street Scam (WCBS TV) * Charges Dropped in Hamster-Killing Case

Jury Hears Galleon Wiretaps(WSJ)

Faced with tough questions about why her agency's top lawyer was allowed to write briefs and perform other legal work pertaining to Bernie Madoff despite his personal stake in Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme, the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission basically pleaded ignorance. (NYDN)

 Winners/Losers. (CHN)