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Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Trouble for Bruno and Friend

- The federal grand jury investigating the business dealings of NY Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno issued subpoenas to two more companies, according to a report in Friday's NY Times (via the Albany Times Union, no reg. required). The scope of the subpoenas, which sought documents related to Mr. Bruno, Mr. Abbruzzese and unidentified people and companies, suggested that the federal investigation of Mr. Bruno’s business activities is widening. And we're hardly surprised to read that both companies are connected with Jared Abbruzzese, whose name seems inexorably linked to the Senator in this matter.

In fact, one starts to wonder just which of the two is really at the center of the probe.

It was unclear yesterday what connection, if any, Mr. Bruno had to Motient or TerreStar. He has not reported owning stock in either company on the annual financial disclosure statements he filed with the Legislative Ethics Committee.
The article reveals that Abbruzzese had been sued by shareholders of one of the companies, Motient Corporation, to which Abbruzzese had been a consultant. It accused him of advising the Motient board to hire Tejas Inc to handle their investment banking without informing them that he had options to purchase 100,000 shares of Tejas stock, whose price surged on the strength of the business being sent its way by Motient.
“After Tejas began work for Motient,” the stockholders’ lawsuit said, “Tejas’s investment banking revenue increased over 25,000 percent, annual profit increased over 2,600 percent and Tejas’s stock price appreciated 900 percent in one year.”
The suit was dismissed on legal technicalities in Delaware.

With Abbruzzese becoming more and more deeply entwined in the affair, it's little surprise that Empire Racing referred to him only as a "a Director" in its recent press release on integrity which tried to sweep the entire matter under the rug.

I don't think it's quite as simple as that. Empire has presented itself not only as unfailingly upright, but also as a group that brings, as opposed to Excelsior, a wealth of experience in racing to the table. So I think it's fair, in the name of integrity, to ask them to explain to us exactly what role, other than investing money, they envisioned Jared Abbruzzese playing in the organization when they brought him on. Why was a businessman with very little connection to the sport on a team that otherwise consisted of NY horsemen and other industry figures? What made him a Friend of New York in the first place, other than the Friend he had in Albany?


Green Mtn Punter said...

I just don't see how the Empire media people can spin this one away; their attempt at damage control with the "we have more integrity than you" line is laughable. At this point, I would have to say that Excelsior remains the favorite with NYRA still holding some interesting trump cards. And it sounds like there's behind the scenes talks going on which could jump NYRA back into the race, or some kind of JV with Excelsior. That is the kind of political deal I could see all along for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that it makes the NYRA land claim go away, and NYRA is the only franchise bidder with the operations experience. And the more time that goes by the more that scenario makes sense as the path to a smooth transition.

Anonymous said...

If Empire was so honest and forthright, they would come clean and reveal that Abbruzzese himself was the FONYR Director that started the discussions that led to the formation of Empire.

But ever since he and Tim Smith were questioned about possible violations of the Lobbying Act (yes, in connection with the creation of Empire) Perlee and Co. have tried to make both of them disappear.

Empire? Integrity? What a joke.