The Chief: Bruno investors won pension sweetener

joebrunosmiles.jpgThe recent federal indictment of ex-state senate master Joe Bruno was overshadowed by Governor Paterson's antics with his U.S. senate candidates, but now the city weekly, The Chief, has taken a look at the charges and makes some interesting connections.

Chief editor Richard Steier reports that at the same time the city's Correction Officers union decided to invest with a pension firm Bruno was receiving payments from, the union was also seeking a major pension enhancement for its members with the legislature. Corrections union leader Norman Seabrook was trying in 1999, writes Steier, to win something called the Variable Supplements Fund -- a pension sweetner already held by cops and fire fighters and worth some $12,000 a year to recipients. Despite strong opposition from then-mayor Giuliani, the measure passed the senate and the assembly and was signed into law by Governor Pataki. The law's enactment, reports The Chief, "was considered a major coup for Mr. Seabrook."

Seabrook refused to discuss his Bruno dealings, as did the city's Corrections Captain's Association, and the Detectives Endowment Association. Both unions also sent pension money to Bruno's friends at Wright Investors' Service. A spokesman for the DEA said the union had cooperated with the three-year probe. Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeant's Benevolent Association, said that he pulled the plug on his union's investments with the firm after he took office in 2002. The reason? Poor returns.  


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