Bruno's Land Deal Redux

Good scandals are like horror movie villains–you can beat them down, but they’ll always come back for a sequel. A veteran of this town’s political wars pointed out to me today that in 1994, while I was navigating the politics of where to sit in my middle school cafeteria, the New York Times was all over this land deal that seems to be a focus of the inquiry into Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s ethics. In an article headlined–this is classic–”New Senate Chief Says His Mixing Business and Politics Is What Albany Needs,” future Pulitzer-winner Kevin Sack wrote about how Bruno attacked the state Department of Environmental Conservation after they halted construction on the development site for various violations. The story also mentions that Bruno’s son, Ken, worked for the Albany lobbyist who was his dad’s partner on the deal.

It’s behind the TimesSelect wall, unfortunately. Here’s the money quote:

I believe business people belong in government … And unfortunately, when you run for office, your opponents always focus on conflicts of interest. My attitude has been, you think I’m in a conflict, then you prove it and if you’re right I’ll pay the consequences. But I’m not going to ever back off because somebody alleges there’s a conflict, because I have spent my life in business and government trying to prove that business people can be effective in government.

And also that government people can be effective in business, apparently.

Azi Paybarah