Quick & Dirty

The Hidden Treasures Behind Lazio's Stock Deal

By June 24, his Q&R investment was showing a loss, according to the Times, but he bought more Q&R stock that day. Exactly seven days later, on July 1, the Boston bigwigs rained money on Lazio. Some of the donors, including Collins of Boston Capital and Ned Epstein of Housing Partners Inc., testified that very spring before the House and regularly make campaign contributions. But for some of the donors, it was their only reported campaign contribution to a Republican. For others, it was their only reported contribution to any congressional candidate during 1997.

Whatever happened on July 1, Lazio bought his now infamous options on Q&R stock exactly one month later. Fooling with options is riskier than just buying regular shares, and records indicate that it was his first stab at it. The Times reported that the stock was trading at about $27 and his options entitled him to buy Q&R for $30 at any time until October 17. Of course, as the paper pointed out, the $1396 he spent on the options would disappear if the stock didn't rise above $30 before the deadline. It wasn't until August 1 that public speculation began that Q&R might be purchased, thus increasing the stock's value. Three days later, the paper reported, Lazio spent $905.48 on more Q&R options.

On September 17, Q&R officials announced the sale of their company to Fleet. That day, Lazio sold the options for $15,944.46, lining his own pocket with a 600 percent profit.

The Quick family acted quickly to spread even more joy to their pal Lazio. Only five days after the sale, on September 22, Christopher Quick wrote two checks for $1000 each to Lazio's campaign. Fifteen days later, five employees of the Q&R subsidiary U.S. Clearing each sent $250 checks to Lazio. On the same day, Pascal J. Mercurio, the head of U.S. Clearing (and a resident of West Islip, only a moneybag's throw from Lazio's home in Brightwaters), wrote him a $500 check. Mercurio was a steady contributor to Lazio before this, and still is.

By January 1998, Lazio had sold his Q&R stock. But his campaign, thanks in part to his Boston pals, had lots of options. On January 30, 1998, Lazio reported that he had $1.3 million of cash on hand.

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