By Howard Koplowitz
Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Saratoga Springs) was found guilty Monday of two federal corruption charges stemming from his relationship with an Albany businessman.
After deliberating for eight days in federal court in Albany, the jury convicted Bruno on two out of eight counts involving influence peddling in the state’s capital.
Bruno was charged with and found guilty of failing to disclose payments made to him by Albany businessman Jared Abbruzzese, who looked to Bruno for help with a nanotechnology company seeking state funds and paid him for his influence in Albany, according to prosecutors.
Consulting firms tied to Abbruzzese paid Bruno $200,000 in 2004 to advocate for him in Albany. In the second charge, Abbruzzese also forgave a $40,000 debt owed by Bruno and paid him $40,000 for a horse stemming from a horse-breeding partnership the two entered into and dissolved in 2005.
Prosecutors maintained Bruno defrauded the public of his honest services through his relationship with Abbruzzese, a charge similar to that against former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill), who took illegal payments from Jamaica Hospital, which sought his influence in Albany.
Seminerio set up a fake consulting company, Marc Consulting, to funnel the payments. In the indictment against Seminerio, it said he got the idea to establish Marc Consultants from an unnamed state senator. Bruno was a senator at the time of the indictment.
Bruno faces up to 20 years in prison for each corruption count as well as $250,000 in fines for each count when he is sentenced.
Seminerio has also yet to be sentenced after pleading guilty to honest services mail fraud.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.