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Joe Bruno

May 6, 2010

He grew up poor. He went off to Korea. He came back to start his own business. He rose through the ranks of local and state politics and became the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. He was one of the most influential men in New York. And then he fell.

He tripped up on something that was inconceivable to him. Doing personal business out of his government office? “Oh, come on. Everybody does that,” he thought.

But some of the union leaders he’d engaged on behalf of a private client had talked too much. His friends in the fancy Saratoga crowd gossiped about his horse deals. And some former associates said things behind his back about his personal dealings.

The local newspaper picked up on all of this and started asking questions and writing stories. Then the Feds got involved.

It really never occurred to him there was a problem until it was too late. Even then, his natural confidence and buoyancy carried him through. “Nobody has ever been prosecuted for this kind of thing before. How the hell could I be the first?” he thought.

When convicted, he was adamant that he hadn’t done what the Feds had said he’d done. He’d never deprived people of his “honest services.” In fact, he’d always worked hard at his job. He delivered for his colleagues and his constituents. He believed he was entitled to make some money on the side. He just didn’t see how he crossed any line.

One Comment leave one →
  1. mark Keister permalink
    May 7, 2010 9:29 AM

    Say it ain’t so Joe. . . Hubris seems to blind many, if not all our elected and un-elected leaders and elite [ think of the “sportsmen” of late and their sexual diversions or the Casino players on Wall Street or the great Churchmen of all persuasions who steal the souls of the young and innocent].

    What do we really expect? We don’t really want the best people representing us, we want the ones who pander to us – whether it be in the hallowed halls of legislatures, the sports arena, “God’s House” or the Street. . . we all want to be stroked, encouraged to give, admired etc. Those with the best lines, the most creative stories, the grandest gestures, the assurances of a better future – THEY are the ones we choose then become aghast at their behaviours behind the curtain . . .

    It is usually a little nudge from their opponent that finally traps ’em. Perhaps we should do what many Humane Societies do with stray animals, “fix” them and release them.

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