The Lonely Revolt of John Bonacic

Today, Joe Bruno is expected to be re-elected by Senate Republicans as their Majority Leader, despite an FBI probe into his business dealing with a lobbyist.

The lone dissenting vote is expected to come from John Bonacic of New Paltz, who told his colleagues the conference needs a new leader.

I chatted with Bonacic a couple of days ago and he said, “I had no endgame. I was not planning a coup. I didn’t call a lot of members saying ‘join me.’”

The inevitable retribution for his impertinence seems like a high price to pay for a gesture. But he said he had his reasons.

The FBI is looking into $500,000 in member items Bruno steered to a lobbyist he has private business with, Jared Abbruzzese. Bruno also runs a consulting company whose clients and transactions are not well-known.

“I never knew that he had a consulting company,” Bonacic told me “This was disturbing to me. It’s not right what I saw happening. For me, with my own standards, its time for new leadership, I’m hoping.”

He also said, “I didn’t go on tour with newspapers and tv and radio. I wrote a confidential member to my colleagues why we need new leadership. I can’t do more than that.”

When I asked how his letter got publicized, Bonancic said, “My office did not leak it. If other people did, than we have personal agendas going on. But its not my agenda. I came to Albany to serve the people, not a leader.”

– Azi Paybarah