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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Connolly's Business Savvy

A decision by a down state NY State Supreme Court Justice contains a sentence that begs the questions of North Greenbush politico Tom Connolly's involvement in a criminal case being prosecuted in NY City involving the apparent procurement of more than 1 million dollars donated by Mayor Mike Bloomberg to the State Independence Party for a poll monitoring operation.

The decision points out that Connolly signed a contract on behalf of the Independence Party for a cool million dollars in services from another political operative John Haggerty who it is alleged, set up a sham company to receive the money and perform the services. The company, Special Elections Operations, LLC was created a month after Connolly signed a contract with Haggerty for the services which the DA alleges were never performed. Yep, Tom signed a contract for a million bucks in service with his party's money with a company that did not yet exist legally.

You can read the judge's decision ordering that the trial go forward here. It details that our ace politico and businessman Connolly, signed a contract on behalf of the State Independence Party on October 15, 2009. Unfortunately the company didn't even exist legally at the time and wasn't officialially created until December 3, 2009, the very same day that Haggerty submitted a bill for services amounting to $750,000. It's also alleged he used the money to help finance a house purchase.

The consulting agreement Connolly signed with Haggerty identified the company's address as 121 State Street in Albany, NY. and provided that Haggerty would receive no more than a 1.1 million dollar fee. Why are we not surprised to learn that Connolly would enter into an agreement with a company that didn't exist, and whose address turned out to be a sham, according to the prosecution. No office could be found there, no mail was delivered there and they could find no one who ever worked there.

Now its only a million bucks so we can understand how Tom Connolly could be so cavalier with his party's money. But what we can't figure out is why he didn't monitor the delivery of the million dollars worth of services he paid for. Further, we can't understand why Connolly wasn't the first person knocking on the door of the District Attorney to complain?

Unless of course getting ripped off for a million bucks didn't bother Connolly because just maybe there's going to be some explanation provided during the trial which begins on June 1st. That explanation is likely to detail what if any role Connolly may have played in facilitating this massive scheme to defraud.

While we await the outcome, one thing is for sure. Tom Connolly has not demonstrated much in the line of business savvy. He was either inept in handling the party's money or perhaps in this one up to his neck.

The money trail is always a tell tale for prosecutors. Anyone who received some of these funds had a legal obligation to report the income to State and Federal tax authorities but that becomes problematic if you weren't supposed to get any legally. So what folks in that situation often do is spend the cash in an effort to leave no trail.

Our suggestion is that the NY DA take a peak at the surveillance video at the high rollers lounge of the Albany OTB Tele-theater which we understand is a favorite hangout of one Independence Party politico who used to also be a full time employee of the NY State Senate working for the recently indicted Senator Carl Krueger. While prosecutors are counting the cash on tape, they can also compare the video time stamp with the time sheets on file in the State Senate. They can also check the card swipe records to see a detailed report of the days and time spent there. That's just in case they need a little more leverage to facilitate cooperation or additional indictments, whichever their strategy requires.

Hey you Rensselaer County folks who are waiting for Connolly to endorse your candidacy for the Independence Party nomination this fall may find that Wilson-Pakula signature of authorization a prize for your opponents to wrap around your political necks.

The trial starts June 1st. Stay tuned!

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