Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg


It’s High Time Eliot Spitzer Disavows Jeanine Pirro


Few reasonable people doubt that Eliot Spitzer will be the next governor of New York State. One might say that he is a “shoo-in.” However, that fact does not give him license to play coy, or ‘footsy’ with Jeanine Pirro, candidate of the opposition party, for State Attorney General, the position Spitzer will be vacating. And, it’s not as though she hasn’t, for her own devious reasons, been reciprocating, for example, refusing to endorse her Republican running mate, John Faso, for Governor, and repeatedly praising and comparing herself to Spitzer.

While this scenario has been playing out over the past two months, increasing numbers of Democrats, and Republicans, alike have expressed their discomfort and disdain, though none, to date have dared to challenge
Mr. Spitzer’s motives or loyalty. That situation ends here and now.

There is good reason to suspect Eliot Spitzer’s complicity with Jeanine Pirro. In May, 2001, Eliot Spitzer, in his First term as State Attorney General, went after Robert Boyle who, together with Al Pirro, had ripped-off the Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Peekskill for more than $600,000 in a corporate fraud scheme between 1991
and 1993. Spitzer pursued Boyle seeking to recover his $300,000 share of the money unlawfully swindled from the hospital, accepting a mere $50,000 when Boyle ‘cried poverty.’ But, Spitzer made no effort to recover any money from Al Pirro, husband of Jeanine Pirro.

In 2003, several months before leaving office, then-Mayor of Yonkers, John Spencer, who now seeks the Republican nomination to oppose Hillary Rodham Clinton for United States Senate, forwarded a 14-page formal letter of accusation, entitled INVESTIGATION NEEDED IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY, against then-District Attorney, and fellow Republican, Jeanine Pirro, to Eliot Spitzer. That letter, drafted by City of Yonkers Corporate Counsel, and published, in part, by local newspapers, was never responded to by Spitzer. That letter, drafted by City of Yonkers Corporate Counsel, and published, in part, by local newspapers, was never responded to by Spitzer. The complaint primarily accused Pirro of interference and fixing of the County-wide
Election of 2001, amongst other unlawful acts. When two months had passed without response to Spencer from Spitzer, this writer persuaded law professor Bennett Gershman to send a follow-up letter urging Eliot to investigate and respond. This time Eliot failed to respond to the law professor. However, in prevailing upon Gershman, a friend and former law professor of mine, I did promise that if Spitzer failed to respond to him, within 30 days, I would also write to him. I was fairly confident that Eliot might respond to me because I had published THE JEANINE MACHINE, which had drawn comment from him, and which would lead him to believe I was not easily discouraged, Sure enough, my letter, urging the Attorney General to take Mayor Spencer’s allegations seriously, and investigate the charges, was answered within days, by Spitzer’s Director of Public Information,
Peter Drago, in a letter dated October 23, 2003. Despite his assurances that the Spencer complaint would be looked into, nothing ever materialized from Spitzer’s office. And, in fact, over time inquiries made by other journalists regarding Spencer’s letter were eventually met with claims that it had gone missing.

Moving right along, in 2004, Eliot Spitzer who had been spotted in Jeanine Pirro’s company, several weeks earlier, in New York City, on an FBI surveillance tape, suddenly, and inexplicably, stepped into the prosecution of Jack Gaffney, Pataki’s head of the State Bridge Authority, by the DA of Ulster County. Gaffney had been indicted for the unlawful taking of more than $188,000 in taxpayer funds, by means of bogus travel expenses and fraudulent claims. Eliot Spitzer permitted Gaffney to plead to a misdemeanor, involving a mere $16,000 overcharge, and the possibility of no jail time.

Jeanine Pirro had reached Eliot Spitzer, persuading him to intercede on behalf of Jack Gaffney, father-in-law of Kieran Mahoney, her campaign director. Jeanine would go on to make an appeal to the sentencing judge, on behalf of Gaffney, that was widely publicized in the Daily News. But that was only window dressing.

The fix was already in with Eliot. In light of all of the above, and possibly more that may never come to light, it’s time that Eliot Spitzer disavows Jeanine Pirro.

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