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As The Empire State Turns
October 1, 2006: Sometimes politics imitate TV to a scary degree. In New York State, viewers are tuned to a collection of campaigns. With spin-offs and guest stars crossing state lines and six degree connections galore. But like any TV exec will tell you, the ratings race can be a bitch.

Barring a major plot twist, the New York State Republican Party won't be throwing one come November. Their gubernatorial candidate, former Assemblyman John Faso, is a ratings disaster. Men In Trees may enjoy seeing one of their own lumber around the state, but Faso is wet wood. Though he smoldered a bit when denouncing State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. The number-crunching Democrat is up for re-election. All seemed jake till his Republican opponent J. Christopher Calligan (catch him on Lost) revealed Hevesi pimped his wife's ride. By putting her limo & chauffeur on the state payroll under the column marked "safety". Total cost: $82,668. According to John Faso, this relatively small act of public servant self-entitlement revealed Hevesi's lack of moral standing. And invalidated his audits re waste and theft of public money by the state's local governments and school officials.

Alas. Faso's punchline was drowned out by the sound of billions in public goodies being delivered (ka-ching!) to the Republican machine pals of outgoing Governor George Pataki. Most of whom support Faso. Or at least lend him lip service. Hey-- day one everything changes! So goes the commercial for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer and running mate David Paterson, the state's senate minority leader. Democratic machines will be Dancing With The Stars! Republicans aren't bummed tho; Spitzer rarely rocked their world when attorney general under Pataki. Odds are the disco ball will keep spinning.

As Spitzer wraps up his role as AG in Deadwood aka Albany, viewers are wondering who'll take his place. Will the switch be as smooth as the recast of Samantha's husband on the classic sitcom Bewitched? Is ex HUD head Andrew Cuomo the next Darren? Buzz has it he's already rewritten the script so he gets to be the one with strange powers. Speaking of which, Andy-Boy's Republican opponent is Jeanine Pirro. A former Westchester D.A. diva with Nip Tuck pizazz. Move over Ugly Betty-- Jeanine's life is one helluva telenovela. The latest episode:

Jeanine suspected husband Albert was cheating on her. On his boat, the dog! In a snit, Jeanine phoned Bernie Kerik, Rudi Giuliani's X top cop and President Bush's one-time pick as Homeland Security head. Bang bang. Alleged mob connections and an off-the-books nanny shot that appointment down. Bernie didn't go on unemployment; he has his own security firm. That Bernie was tight with New Jersey based contractors with alleged mob ties bothered D.A. Jeanine not a whit. Hubby Al has a closet full of alleged ties. In the past, Jeanine herself has taken a few campaign bucks from Joseph Pontoriero of Worth Construction, an allegedly mobbed up contractor based in Connecticut. But then, who hasn't? Including Governor George Pataki, Al Gore and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. Though they returned the cash when publicity hit the fan. Jeanine didn't.

Six Degrees: In 2005, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi blocked Joe Pontoriero and Worth Construction from receiving a 46 million dollar contract initially approved by the New York State Thruway Authority. Citing Pontoriero's tri-state rep for mob ties and fancy suits. The latter gifted to Phil Giordano, the notorious pedophile X mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut. No need to cry for Joe tho. He went on to help build a courthouse in Putnam County. Worth's cut: $14.8 million. And in Greenwich, Connecticut, a construction contract for a 31 million dollar cop shop looks likely.

But back to Al & Jeanine & Bernie. Before being disbarred in 2004, Albert Pirro was an influential real estate attorney and lobbyist. Despite a 66 count conviction for tax fraud, which ultimately sent him to prison, the New York State Appellate Court merely suspended Al from practicing law. It took the U.S. Supreme Court to disbar him. Though D.A. Jeanine signed off on the tax returns that sent Al up, she hadn't noticed anything funny. As for his extensively detailed alleged mob ties, D.A. Jeanine said she and Al lead separate lives. Al's separate life is rife with extra marital capers. The boat boff being his latest.

Jeanine wanted Bernie to bug Al's love boat. Bernie had qualms cause he thought it might be illegal and he was already having problems. Jeanine cried on Bernie's telephone shoulder. Al the louse had loused up her career. If not for Al, I'd be in the governor's mansion, said Jeanine. Being state attorney general was just a "been there done that kind of thing."

Jeanine's 2005 confab with Bernie about bugging her hub was itself being bugged. By the Bronx D.A.'s office which was in the process of investigating Bernie Kerik for taking kickbacks from contractor friends in Jersey, while he was NYC Police Commissioner. The allegedly mob linked contractors, Frank and Peter DiTommaso of Interstate Construction, hoped to do business with the city. Kerik ultimately pled guilty and did 2 misdemeanors the hard way. Frank & Peter DiTommaso are under indictment for perjury, for allegedly lying about a gratis renovation of Bernie's Bronx condo. Meanwhile, the feds are interested in Bernie re other issues. In that context, a federal investigation into Jeanine's possibly illegal plans to have Bernie bug Al developed. The original Bronx D.A.'s bug somehow got leaked to the press, and Jeanine Pirro's expletive laden wifely diatribe and diss of the public office in which she hopes to serve, was broadcast in its entirety on WNBC news.

As result, Jeanine's snit has grown to mammoth proportions. She wants United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to fire Elliot Jacobson, the assistant U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York. She claims Jacobson's office leaked the tape. She's also inferring that Jacobson's 1984-85 work relationship with Andrew Cuomo, when both were in the New York County D.A.'s office, has something to do with it. Elliot Jacobson also prosecuted Al Pirro on the tax charges in 1999 and according to Jeanine, Jacobson's "hostility to my family was palpable at the time."

But instead of going on a tear, perhaps Jeanine should be counting her blessings. According to polls her winning the "been there, done that" AG job looks unlikely. Leaving her plenty of time to relax on the family boat while keelhauling Al through Shark infested waters.

As for Bernie Kerik, the guy once high on the Homeland Security A-list seems strangely clueless when it comes to securing his own phones. Maybe he's been spending too much time in Jersey. Where almost every pol or public contractor is either wearing a wire or tangled in one. Speaking of the Garden State, Democratic X Governor Jim McGreevey recently appeared on Oprah. Pushing his book "The Confession". In which he basically blames his forced resignation from office on his admitting to being gay. As opposed to his massively corrupt administration. Spinoffs from the McGreevey years are playing in this season's elections in Jersey. But that's a whole other show...

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Sources include but are not limited to:

"Demolition crew begins work on old cop shop," Martin B. Cassidy, Greenwich Time, Southern Connecticut Newspapers Inc. 09/30/06

"Starring Jeanine Pirro," The Journal News 09/29/06

"Hevesi apologizes for failure to pay chauffeur, refuses to drop out of race," Cara Matthews, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, 09/29/06

"Pirro to Gonzalez: I Want Justice, News from Jeanine Pirro for Attorney General," Empire Information Services, 09/28/06

Press Release, "New Jersey Contractors Frank and Peter DiTommaso Indicted For Perjury Before the Grand Jury Investigating Renovations on Bernard Kerik's Riverdale Apartment," Office of District Attorney of Bronx County Robert T. Johnson, 07/19/06,

Press Release, "Worth Construction Found Not a Responsible Vendor, Cannot Receive $46 Million Thruway Contract," Office of New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, 11/09/05

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Copyright (c) 2006 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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