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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Solicitations Ruffle Feathers

There have been a  great many behind the scenes ramblings about solicitations for political contributions for the GOP majority on the Rensselaer County Legislature with one in particular, the Siemens corporation, getting the attention of Will Powers, son of the former GOP State Chairman Bill Powers. The two run a lobbying and consulting firm in Albany.

Siemens is a company that deals in energy cost reductions and won a 1.6 million dollar contract from Rensselaer County as detailed in the Times Union on July 18,2012. 
The solicitation by GOP legislative honcho Richard Crist of Siemens has apparently irritated some folks enough to complain to County Executive Kathy Jimino and the FBI. Was it a "shake down" for a contribution or an innocent solicitation? Stay tuned...

Rehab Radio (Talk 1300)
Former Congressman and Rensselaer County politico John Sweeney has been hired by Paul Vandenburgh to do a talk show. You can read about it in the Times Union
Sweeney has a checkered past including his implosion which cost him his seat in Congress. He has been the subject of much controversy, including a felony conviction and jail time as well as an FBI investigation as detailed by this NY Times article. More recently Sweeney lost his home to foreclosure after failing to pay his mortgage and taxes as reported in the Times Union.
Sweeney's connection to Vandenburgh goes way back. Sweeney was once the Executive Director of the State GOP under the senior Powers and the State Republican Committee once employed the sons of the local talk show host.
In a bit of irony, the financial backers of Talk 1300 include Trustco Bank, which was holding the bag for  $248,414 when they foreclosed on Sweeney's home. One has to wonder if Trustco, which is a highly respected local bank, is at all embarrassed by Vandenburgh's decision to hire their one time debtor, regardless of his other baggage, which could create a snappy new marketing jingle as the areas number one "rehab radio". Ratings, ratings, ratings!

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