Friday, November 6, 2009

Take back the bookends, Sen. Bruno

Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, said in his testimony to the jury today, that he returned a set of glass bookends sent to him by Sen. Joe Bruno. It's unclear what the purpose of the gift was. In addition to serving as the council's president, Ward is a co-chair of the union's pension fund committee.

Ward admitted to a "cordial" relationship with the former Senate majority leader, which he said dates back to around 2005. He testified Bruno spoke with him over the phone about letting Wright Investors Service handle his union's pension fund investments. Ward said Bruno described the company as "friends of his," but neglected to mention he was employed by them.

I was "uncomfortable" about it, Ward said. I was "unclear why the senator was asking me to do it," he added. Wright would never land the investment deal, a fact which Bruno's defense emphasized.

Earlier in the morning, the jury also heard from John Cordo, who from 1996-2000 served as assistant counsel to Bruno in charge of labor issues. He testified he had no knowledge of a financial relationship between the majority leader and Wright.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Monday.

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