The STATE of POLITICS blog is a running statewide conversation about NY politics - the debate and the drama, the victories and defeats. We invite you to be part of the discussion. Please share your comments on our posts or (please!) send us a news tip.
firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
A reader was reviewing expelled Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s 27-day post-special election campaign finance filing and found something very interesting.
The former Queens senator and erstwhile amigo received $9,600 – the maximum allowable contribution – on March 9 from GDP Consulting, a Niagara Falls-based consulting company at the center of a federal tax and money laundering probe connected to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.
On the same day, Monserrate received another $9,600 contribution from GSDP Inc., which lists its address as 101 Rio Ave. (or maybe it’s Reo?), Cheektowaga. (That’s a Buffalo suburb, for you downstaters; and it is from whence the saying “As goes Cheektowaga, so goes New York” comes).
Interestingly, a quick Google search turns up a $3,400 contribution from GSDP LLC with the same address (using the Reo spelling) to the Committee to Elect Gary Parenti on July 10, 2006.
Parenti is a longtime associate of Espada's counsel, Steve Pigeon, a fixture in Buffalo Democratic politics and advisor to Tom Golisano, who also played a role in the Senate coup. The address of GDP is 7305 Porter Road, Niagara Falls, according to The Buffalo News. That is the home of the Parenti Accounting Group, which is headed by Jerry Parenti, Gary Parenti's father.
Espada, as you'll no doubt recall (who could forget, really?), was Monserrate's party-jumping partner in crime during the Senate coup last summer. Monserrate returned to the Democratic fold within several days, but Espada refused, holding the Senate hostage for 31 days.
Espada was also one of Monserrate's chief defenders in the lead-up to the expulsion vote and one of eight Democrats to vote "no" on the resolution that booted him from the Senate.
Monserrate's filing also shows he received contributions from" Sen. Carl Kruger (Friends of Carl, $4,000), Sen. Martin Dilan (Friends of Dilan, $5,000), Espada (Majority Leader's Victory Fund, $5,000), an in-kind contribution from Ruben Diaz (Ruben Diaz for State Senate, $5,000).
There's also a $9,500 in-kind contribution from Monserrate's longtime friend and staffer, Mike Nieves, for "professional services." (In other words, he was working more or less for free, except for the $10,000 he received from Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson).
Monserrate still has $31,963 on hand, just in case he decides to end his listening tour and mount a campaign for something else - perhaps Sen. Jose Peralta's old Assembly seat.