Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rudy set to greet GOP as another old pal is busted

By Dan Janison

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Talk about unlucky timing. Wednesday night, the state Republicans gather at the Sheraton in midtown Manhattan and one of the featured guests on the program is former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, once again touted as a possible solution to Republican doldrums with brewing speculation of a gubernatorial run next year.

And what is the New York political news of the day? His close longtime adviser Ray Harding, who headed the now-defunct state Liberal Party, is charged in conjunction with the pay-to-play mess surrounding investment actions taken while Alan Hevesi was state comptroller.

UPDATE: The AP reports reports that it involves more than $800,000 in illegal fees linked to state pension fund investments, purportedly as a reward for helping Hevesi's son Andrew get a seat in the state Assembly.....Read full story.

Even though Giuliani fell out with Hevesi toward the end of their eight years of simultaneous incumbency, Harding remained an ally of the one-time Queens Democratic figure.

Harding's son Russell, of course, served time due to crimes committed as head of Giuliani's housing corporation. Hank Morris, charged in the investment probe by AG Andrew Cuomo and the Securities Exchange Commission, was politically allied with Ray Harding. Former LP executive director Fran Reiter served as a Rudy deputy mayor -- as did Harding's repected son Robert.

Along with Bernard Kerik, this adds one more Giuliani pal facing prosecution, potentially during the rollout of his next campaign. Of course, it may not necessarily matter. Does anyone talk about Tony Resko any more?

The time-honored pre-emptive move to get word out before the authorities is here.

Tom Robbins' cutting-edge story on Hank Morris and Harding is here.

Rudy Giuliani, left, with Raymond Harding, ex-chief of the now defunct Liberal Party, take in a Yankees-Rangers game on opening day April 12, 2000. (AP Photo)

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