Archive for October 18, 2009

The Kessel NYPA Watch, October 18, 2009 – By George J. Marlin

October 18, 2009

EVERYBODY WANTS TO QUESTION RICHIE IN JOE BRUNO CORRUPTION TRIAL

Sadly, former Senator Majority Leader Joe Bruno is spending his golden years defending himself against eight felony corruption charges in Federal District Court in Albany.  (Senator Bruno is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)  Street Corner Conservative has no inside information on the charges and hazards no prediction as to the outcome of the trial.  But Street Corner Conservative does note with interest that both the Federal prosecutors and Senator Bruno’s defense team have listed Richie Kessel, former LIPA Chairman and CEO and current NYPA CEO, as a witness they expect to call at trial.

As Jim Odato reported in the Albany Times Union late last year, Senator Bruno played an unknown role in introducing Richie when he was Chairman and CEO of LIPA to a married couple in Brooklyn engaged in construction work for utilities.  The husband has since been indicted for alleged bribery of Con Ed employees to obtain road construction work.  (He too is presumed innocent.)  In fairness, there is as yet no suggestion that Richie committed any violation of federal or state law.  But Street Corner will be following the trial with interest and will keep its readers informed of developments.  In addition, Street Corner notes with bemusement that, in keeping with his well-deserved reputation as a bi-partisan purveyor of favors, both the prosecution and defense want to question Richie.  This trial, which is scheduled to start November 2, and Kessel’s testimony promise to be interesting.

Finally, readers will remember that Odato and Newsday’s Mark Harrington reported last year that Kessel would neither confirm nor deny whether he had received a subpoena in the Bruno corruption trial.  It is now safe to vouchsafe that Kessel was subpoenaed and despite his usual lengthy eloquence with the press clammed up on this uncomfortable subject.

Thanks to several correspondents for focusing Street Corner Conservative on this unique development.

THE KESSEL COUNTDOWN: 440 DAYS UNTIL RICHIE KESSEL IS FIRED BY THE NEW GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.