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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Service Interruption

We're down at my parents' place in Florida, but there's currently no internet access at the house; thus the lack of posting. Probably saving some money too, since the weather hasn't been so great, and I'd likely be sitting inside betting on races. Still here for a couple more days, so if you don't hear from me you'll know why.

Paul Post wrote in The Saratogian of the expanded racino hours that were not a part of the deficit reduction bill passed last week.

Plans called for keeping racinos open two more hours, from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., a move that might have netted the state an extra $45 million.
Well, I support slots at tracks while holding my nose; more as an acceptance of a life line, and in the interest of leveling the playing field. But that support only goes so far, and not as far as the thought of the state relying on the folks who sit glued - in fact, literally tethered by their cash cards - at those machines at 3:30 A.M. They could make up that $45 million tomorrow if they would just choose the Aqueduct winner and collect the excess over the budgeted $200 million that they figure to be able to receive.

Nonetheless, once the governor and the legislature look at the even bigger deficits to come, there's little doubt in my mind that expanded gambling will be a key part of the equation. I mean, they agonized to enact a mere $600-700 million of real cuts; facing billions more, I think I can say that table games at New York's racetracks are a near certainty...and in the very near future too. I think you'll see blackjack at Yonkers before the first coin card is slipped into a machine at the Big A.


Anonymous said...


Governor Paterson Make a Decision on Aqueduct Racino VLT NOW..!

Sign Petition by clicking here...

Support a NY Based Bidder, only, giving NY Jobs across the board, to Queens Community.

Anonymous said...

As long as there's no Florida Indians taking our jobs !!

Anonymous said...

They may want to join the 2200 who started this back in July!

It's all about politics unfortunately, and as long as the bidder's lobbyist keep contributing campaign funds to the legislature, the State will continue to wait until the last minute (March) to decide who wins this money to their coffers for election time.


ljk said...

I always feel bad for folks who plan their visits to Florida and then get the kind of weather we've had the last few days.

Anonymous said...

Governor Paterson has shown leadership in the current budget crisis. Now it is time to pick the Aqueduct VL operator. This should be done now and not delayed anymore.

Governor, please make sure it is the right operator.

We had the failed Delaware North, so please don't pick them again. SL Green is a re-hash of Empire Racing with the taint of Abbruzzese, etc. I realized how 'yukky' all this history was when reading about the Bruno Trial.

Governor, please pick a VLT operator with the talent and ability to get the job done.

You deserve this and so do we.

Anonymous said...

Well another way to close the deficit would be a one time cash infusion from the sale of the Big A to the Port Authority, just saying.

Milk the process for every political "contribution" then suddenly realize that all the bids are flawed and sell the Big A instead. Then milk it all over again at Belmont.

Anonymous said...

Times Union - just in:

Jury focuses on attorneys in Bruno case
December 7, 2009

Extract from article:

Yet there was more testimony from the Senate lawyers that would draw scrutiny from the judge and jury.
Francis Gluchowski, a former Senate ethics lawyer who later joined Bruno’s majority staff, also handled many of the senator’s private affairs. In 2005, Gluchowski, with input from Riddett, discussed with Bruno’s secretary whether a horse-breeding partnership between Bruno and two men who would later bid for the state’s horse racing franchise was required to be reported on the public disclosure forms.

In a 2005 memo, Bruno’s former longtime Senate secretary, Patricia Stackrow, wrote to Bruno that Gluchowski considered the disclosure rules “murky” on whether the partnership, which could be considered a more informal joint venture, needed to be listed. They suggested it fell under Bruno’s Mountain View Farm operation and therefore didn’t need to be clarified or detailed. If Bruno had listed the partnership, they told him, he would need to list the names of his partners, including Jared E. Abbruzzese, who was then paying him $20,000 a month in consulting fees.

“Leave as is,” Bruno wrote back to Stackrow.

During a break in Gluchowski’s testimony, Sharpe cautioned attorneys in the criminal trial that the Senate lawyers’ advice was becoming an issue.

“By law, a joint venture is a partnership. By law, that’s what it is,” Sharpe told them outside the presence of the jury. “Here we have a law requiring legislators to disclose their interests in partnerships, and we have advice being given that you don’t have to disclose your interest in a partnership.”

The judge said the object of the state Public Officers Law was for legislators to disclose their interests, and what Bruno was being advised “is hardly consistent with the purpose of that law.”

And while Bruno was receiving advice from the attorneys, there was nothing that prevented him from overruling that advice or from erring on the side of full disclosure.

Abbe D. Lowell, Bruno’s co-counsel, debated the judge’s definition of a partnership but conceded the issues were growing clouded.

“I’m not sitting here telling you I know what’s supposed to be done and not supposed to be done,” Lowell told Sharpe. “I have no clue. I have less clue now than when I started this case.”

Full article on:

Anonymous said...

If Dicker is correct, and he usually is, then Aqueduct may not get decided anytime soon if Governor Paterson, Shelly Silver and Senator Sampson have this continued animosity towards each other:

"Shelly understands that Paterson is trying to get himself elected by attacking the Legislature," said a Silver intimate.

Even as Assembly Democrats stood ready to pass many cuts, Senate Democrats under the "leadership" of Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn couldn't muster the votes.

"It drove Shelly crazy that Paterson kept blaming the entire Legislature when the real problem . . . was in the Senate," said the source.

Sampson has told associates he can barely stomach Paterson. Relations have gotten so bad that Silver and Sampson are likely to support Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor next year, according to associates of both men.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Daily News - The Daily Politics
by Elizabeth Benjamin

December 7, 2009 Strange Bedfellows
By Elizabeth Benjamin

With the jury still out (literally) on Joe Bruno's fate, the former Senate majority leader has received some of his strongest support from a seemingly unlikely ally: Controversial GOP consultant Roger Stone.

Stone took to the airwaves this morning along with his longtime ally, drug law activist/longshot primary challenger to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Randy Credico, to defend Bruno and accuse the judge presiding over his trial of bias.

Stone told the Post's Fred Dicker on Talk 1300-WGDJ AM that there is "no evidence" Bruno violated the public's trust, adding:

"It is really weak to try to say that he used his position to benefit himself and he reported all that income, Fred, as per the instructions of three different lawyers."

The Credico chimed in:

"Roger laid it out pretty well there. There’s no quid pro quo. There’s no calls that he made….he has better understanding of it all. This is much ado about nothing and it happens a lot."

"(You) just mentioned (Assembly Speaker) Sheldon Silver the kind of money he has probably made. He has directed business to Pat Lynch probably. Is that against the law?"

(Credico, a comedian known for his political impersonations, delivered that last bit in his best Silver voice).

I believe this is known in PR parlance as "muddying the waters", which is something at which Stone excels.

Consider, for example, the subterfuge that followed the 2007 incident in which he was accused of making a harassing phone call to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's aged father. (Stone has never admitted he made that call).

Ironically, Stone was on the Senate GOP payroll at the time, but Bruno fired him. Obviously, they've made up since then.

The two of them are on the same side in the gay marriage debate, which seems weird until you understand that Stone is essentially a stay-out-of-my-life libertarian, while Bruno is a convert on the topic.

Read more:

El Angelo said...

Congrats to Joe Bruno. Don't let the cell bar doors hit you on the way in.

Anonymous said...

Times Union:

Bruno, acquitted of five counts, was found guilty in connection with 11 payments he received from companies controlled by Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese.

The jury found Bruno did not perform legitimate work for the Abbruzzese companies — and that the payments were, in effect, gifts.

He was also convicted of failing to disclose his participation in a partnership with Abbruzzese that involving thoroughbred race horses.

Anonymous said...

Bruno guilty over his connection with Abbruzzese.

"Bruno was found guilty in connection with 11 payments he received from companies controlled by Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese."

Governor Paterson, please don't continue the sleaze by awarding the Aqueduct VLT Franchise to the Abbruzzese/SL Green team.

Anonymous said...

Now that Bruno has been found guilty, when will the prosecutions start against Shelly Silver?

Anonymous said...

Bruno was found guilty in connection with 11 payments he received from companies controlled by Jared Abbruzzese.

Once again a light has been shone on the sleaze that has surrounded New York thoroughbred racing.

Jared Abbruzzese was a founder of Empire Racing, one of the bidders for the New York thoroughbred racing franchise to run racing at Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct.

Empire Racing then dissolved into SL Green, only after the NYRA won another 25 year to run racing at those racetracks.

SL Green is now one of the favorite bidders for the lucrative Aqueduct Casino.

Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Senator Sampson, it is time for you to choose a VLT operator who is without connection to the Abbruzzese/SL Green sleaze and coming court cases.

jk said...

The Bruno conviction is bad news for AEG a/k/a Malcolm Smith & Co. The free ride in Albany is over.

I agree, go after Shelly Silver next. He can complete the superfecta of corrupt state leaders; Governor, Comptroller, Senate leader and finally Assembly leader.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that the The SL Green/Abbruzzese team would like to paint a rosy picture from the outcome of the guilty verdict from the Bruno trial.

Good luck because the Abbruzzese/SL Green team are now forever painted with the same brush as Abbruzzese/Joe Bruno.

Anonymous said...

Tumes Union

The payment, Abbruzzese said, was intended as his "global solution" to the fact a telecommunications company once controlled by Abbruzzese, TerreStar Networks, had terminated a $20,000-a-month consulting contract with Bruno after executives questioned what he was doing to earn the money.
The early termination cost Bruno $80,000.

Abbruzzese admitted he bought the overpriced horse to make up the difference, and at a time when he was seeking the state's NYRA franchise.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Addressing JK:

Bruno was found guilty because he did not disclose he was receiving payments from Jared Abbruzzese and his companies. Clearly the Jury felt there was illegal activity here because of non-disclosure.

This is clearly not the case with Senator Malcolm Smith. Senator Smith has disclosed his connection to Reverend Flake and has recused himself from the decision on Aqueduct.

The Abbruzzese/Bruno actions were clearly illegal. Disclosure of a possible conflict and subsequently recusing oneself from a decision is clearly the opposite and is the correct thing to do morally and clearly the correct thing to do legally.

Anonymous said...

Interesting insider look at the Jury deliberations:

First published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jurors in the trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said Monday that the seven days of deliberations by the 12 jurors were extremely tiring and emotional -- but in the end they just wanted to get it right.

"It was very hard to convict him when he's done so much for the area," said jury forewoman Patricia Hurley-Dyer, a teacher at Lansingburgh High School. "But we couldn't look at that. Our job was to decide the case based on the evidence presented to us."

The jury found Bruno guilty of two charges in connection with his dealings with companies controlled by Loudonville businessman Jared Abbruzzese. The jury acquitted him on five other charges and could not reach a decision on an eighth count.

Juror Julie Gardner, a 36-year-old mother of three from Fort Edward, said, "There was not enough of a defense to show why Bruno was given certain checks that he was given" by Abbruzzese.

"The amount did not trouble me," said Gardner, who works at an insurance company call center. "But the biggest thing was that it was money that I did not feel he had earned. And he did get things in return, or at least I thought so."

Hurley-Dyer and Gardner were the only jurors to speak to the Times Union on Monday. The newspaper attempted to contact all 12 jurors; seven others either declined to comment directly or were said to be not available by relatives. Three others could not be contacted.

Although the jury was able to come to a relatively quick decision of not guilty on two counts, Hurley-Dyer says they labored on through their 55 hours of deliberation.

"We were pretty divided," she said. "It was intense. Every day was intense. We all gave 110 percent."

Hurley-Dyer, who spoke at her Melrose home, said the jury decided early on that Bruno was not guilty of two counts of mail fraud involving Asentinel, a Tennessee telephone-bill management company, and Russell C. Ball and his business, Roadway Contracting.

Gardner said the jury was "not even close" to reaching a verdict on the count involving $468,000 in consulting fees paid to Bruno by Westchester County businessman Leonard Fassler.

"I wished there was more evidence on this," she said.

On Dec. 1, the jury told the judge that it had reached a verdict on two of the counts but was still deliberating on the remaining six.

The jury made up its mind the next day on its first guilty finding, on a charge related to Bruno's failure to disclose his participation with Abbruzzese in a partnership involving thoroughbred horses where Abbruzzese purchased what the government called a "virtually worthless" horse from Bruno to pay him $80,000.

By Friday, the jury was still deadlocked on five of the counts.

That day, there was courthouse speculation of a pending verdict, but Hurley-Dyer said the jury was still doing a lot of deliberating.

"That's totally not true," she said. "We were not even close on Friday."

Gardner said the jurors held secret ballots to gauge the consensus on each count. By Friday, a consensus to convict on the Abbruzzese counts began to emerge, she said.

"All we could do was keep referring to the law. We pored over the evidence, box by box. We must have touched each piece at least a dozen times," Gardner said.

Hurley-Dyer said the jury wanted the weekend to mull over the remaining charges. The jury eventually decided also to find Bruno guilty of mail fraud for 11 payments his firm received from Abbruzzese's firm in 2004...................

Anonymous said...

Bruno was found guilty, rightly or wrongly, on

1. Bruno's failure to disclose his participation with Abbruzzese in a partnership involving thoroughbred horses where Abbruzzese purchased what the government called a "virtually worthless" horse from Bruno to pay him $80,000.

2. The jury eventually decided also to find Bruno guilty of mail fraud for 11 payments his firm received from Abbruzzese's firm in 2004.

Clearly the failure to disclose led to the convictions.