Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
[Home] [Former Republican] [About the Authors] [RSS Feed] [Pointless Vanity]

"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

More From the Pataki Canal Sweetheart Deal

posted by Jazz at 1/05/2005 07:56:00 AM


It appears that a certain Albany lobbyist was "flying under the radar" and doing a large amount of the legwork to ram though the Erie Canal Development project sweetheart deal for Richard Hutchens.
Capitol lobbyist Kerry Marsh worked the phones like a Wall Street trader in his attempts to win an exclusive development contract for his client Richard Hutchens & Associates, documents turned over to the attorney general show. Marsh got the job done - Hutchens got the Canal Corp. contract in 2001. But it was later rescinded and found to be steered inappropriately by Canal Corp. officials eager to get development going along the Erie Canal. A follow-up investigation found that Marsh may have gotten a lot of inside secrets along the way by pumping state officials.
As so often happens in these cases, Kerry Marsh wasn't doing anything "technically" illegal to get this Old Money gift package assembled. It turns out that not all forms of lobbying in New York have to be officially reported.

Several calls and discussions with Gov. George Pataki's friend and former budget director Robert King and his wife, Karen, are listed, as are contacts with Pataki's adviser Lou Tomson, another authority board member, and aides to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Marsh writes of a planned golf outing with the Kings to brief them on the project and of Robert King's willingness to reach out to Tomson about the Hutchens matter.

Normally, the lobbying that Marsh did would get by under the public radar. Lobbyists and clients must file reports with the state lobbying commission for activity aimed at influencing legislation, but procurement lobbying - lobbying officials in order to obtain a state contract - does not have to be reported. The records, however, were turned over under subpoena in the Hutchens contract probe.

How convenient. As Pataki continues to prepare for a possible presidential bid in '08, keep your eyes on the Albany insider news. These sorts of deals have been the bread and butter of Empire State pols for as long as anyone can remember. More of this is certainly going to be turning up.