Pataki's Favorite Conservatives

Mike Long's party is feasting at the state trough

  • The largest party benefactor has long been cosmetics king Ron Lauder, who's given $201,980 since 1994. Lauder is so close to the governor he's got First Lady Libby on the company tab for $80,000 a year. The governor's also made over $70,000 as a paid speaker appearing before groups tied to Lauder. Pataki appointed Lauder to chair his council on privatization, and Lauder installed Conservative Party national chair Allen Roth as the council's executive director.

    A registered Republican, Lauder ran for mayor in 1989 on the Conservative line. Lauder also bankrolled the 1989 and 1993 efforts to get a term limits referendum on the city ballot, a campaign that was led by Conservative Party honchos Atanasio, Marrone, and Roth. John Buttarazzi, whose family has long been associated with the party, also worked on Lauder's term limits campaign. He is now the senior vice president for privatization at the Empire State Development Corporation.

  • The party has just about taken over the Workers' Compensation Board, with the former Manhattan county leader Mike Berns as a commissioner and three party operatives in top staff positions.

    Jerome Becker, who changed his registration to Conservative in November 1995, was an appointee on the HFA, SONYMA and other state development boards under Cuomo. He's been elevated to chair under Pataki and has become a frequent donor to the party, as well as friendly with Long. Atanasio's firm, Bear, has repeatedly acted as senior manager on bond offerings issued by these agencies.

    Rob Ryan, who was Pataki's campaign manager in 1994 and is now an executive at Empire State, became active in the party during the Barry Farber mayoral campaign in 1977 and was brought into the Pataki inner circle by Long. Like Ryan and Atanasio, Tony Casale, who served until recently as the head of the State Liquor Authority, is a Republican with even stronger ties to the Conservatives. A periodic donor to Long's party, Casale's SLA selection in 1995 was seen in part as another Conservative appointment.

    Research: Nicole White

    Pay to play?

    Conservative Party Donors Who Do Business With the Port Authority



    Number of contributions 1995­98:

    1. American Stevedoring & four affiliates



    2. A.C.E. Elevator



    3. Duty Free International



    4. Howland Hook Container Terminal



    5. Quadrozzi Concrete (and Davidoff & Malito)*



    6. New Connecticut Limo



    7. Marine Shipping Line



    8. Continental Terminals



    9. Port Authority PBA



    10. Lansdell Protection



    11. Genesee & Wyoming Railroad & affiliates



    12. Phoenix Marine



    Friends in high places

    Pataki Appointees With Links to Conservative Party

    Family Contributions 1994­98


    State Position

    Party Ties

    Total/no. of contributions

    1. George Marlin

    Executive Director, Port Authority (1995­97)

    Enrollee, 1993 mayoral candidate


    2. Ann Paolucci

    Chair, City University Board of Trustees

    Enrollee, wife of a state vice chair


    3. Paul Atanasio

    Trustee, School Construction Authority

    Former enrollee and congressional candidate


    4. Patrick Foye

    Deputy Chair, Long Island Power Authority

    Enrollee, deputy counsel & executive committee


    5. Michael Berns

    Commissioner, Workers Compensation Board

    Enrollee, ex-Manhattan county chair


    6. Anthony Rudmann

    Executive Director, Workers Compensation Board

    Enrollee, former Conservative Party executive director


    7. Jerome Becker

    Chair, Housing Finance Agency & two affiliates; Vice Chair, SONYMA



    8. Candace deRussy

    Trustee, State University

    Republican, eight-year Conservative Party donor


    9. Gerard Kassar

    Member, Interstate Sanitation Commission

    Enrollee, Chair, Brooklyn C.P. and executive committee


    10. Joan Cusack

    Chair, Crime Victims Board



    11. Sean McSherry

    Member, Parole Board

    Enrollee, son of former comptroller candidate


    12. Irene Platt

    Member, Parole Board

    Republican, longtime family donor


    13. Allen Roth

    Executive Director, Research Council on Privatization

    Enrollee, National Affairs chair


    14. David Donohue

    Chief of Staff, Workers Compensation



    15. Joseph McHugh

    NYC Director, Workers Compensation



    16. Fran Vella Marrone

    Special Assistant to Trustee, School Construction Authority*

    Enrollee, Executive Committee & Brooklyn vice chair


    17. Gary Marrone

    Project Officer, School Construction Authority*



    18. Rob Ryan

    Senior VP for Communications, Empire State Development Corp.

    Republican, closely associated with C.P. since 1977


    19. John Buttarazzi

    Senior VP for Privatization, Empire State

    Republican, three family members associated with C.P.


    20. Maria Padilla-Orasel

    Director, Minority and Women's Business Division, Empire State

    Republican, longtime family Conservative Party donor


    21. Michael Buttino

    Director of Information Services, Higher Education Assistance Corp.

    Enrollee, ex-Greene County chair


    22. Rosemary Braatz

    Citizen services representative, governor's office

    Enrollee, ex-Putnam County chair


    23. Viola Hunter

    Assistant director, State Fair, Department of Agriculture

    Enrollee, executive committee


    24. Robert G. Smith

    Member, NYC Financial Control Board

    Enrollee, a Conservative Party founder


    25. Ed Bergassi

    Commissioner, State Insurance Fund

    Republican, fundraiser and donor to CP


    26. James Gay

    Senior Community Relations Representative, Power Authority

    Enrollee, Treasurer


    27. John Stump Jr.

    Building Superintendent, General Services

    Enrollee, Regional vice chair & Delaware County chair


    28. Keith Zobel

    Project Assistant, Commission on Corrections

    Enrollee, son of Conservative Party executive director


    *The Marrones resigned from the SCA this year.

    **This total includes donations from Caroline Quartararo, who shares the same address.

    With special reporting by David Shaftel and David Kihara

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