State Capitol Gangs Go To War

July 6, 2007

No sooner does “The Sopranos” end, than another drama of petty but dangerous dealings and small-time intrigue begins. It’s already on its way to becoming a long-running saga: the feud between Joe “The Horse” Bruno and Eliot “Steamroller” Spitzer.

Eliot offered Joe a sitdown the other day about dividing up their territory and getting on with business, but they don’t even agree on where Steamroller wanted to hold the meet, and Horse raised the ante with charges that Spitzer had put the law on him:

brunospitzer.jpgThe meeting never happened, and the two men are continuing to feud after Mr. Spitzer’s staff suggested Mr. Bruno may have improperly used State Police escorts and helicopters and Mr. Bruno then suggested that Mr. Spitzer was spying on him.
The state inspector general said she would investigate Mr. Bruno’s allegations that the Spitzer administration used the State Police to “conduct surveillance” of his whereabouts.
The governor’s staff vigorously disputed the allegations but agreed to allow the inspector general, Kristine Hamann, an appointee of the governor, to review the matter. Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, has also called for the attorney general and the Albany County district attorney to convene grand juries to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing.

The New York Times

Possible storyline for the next episode: Joe and Eliot try to get each other impeached, and end up exposing the crimes of assembly leader Sheldon “The Accountant” Silver. Watch as cop confusion ensues, with FBI agents who’ve been probing Bruno’s business dealings for more than a year, tripping over the State Police who are driving him around (or maybe spying on him), and investigators for the Albany County D.A.’s office, pursuing a grand jury investigation, add to the merry mixup.

The moral of the story, “Sopranos” fans, is that power struggles can be fun to watch. But when our top bosses go to the mattresses, public service goes to sleep with the fishes.