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Another Spitzer Shakedown

Radio Conglomerates Eyed in ‘Payola’ Probe

Warner Music Group Corp. agreed last year to pay $5 million to settle its part of the investigation, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay $10 million.

It’s works like this with NYAG Eliot Spitzer. He holds a press conference and levels charges–doesn’t actually file them, most times–against whoever’s turn it is to feel the heat. Some poor shlubs are sorta perp-walked for the cameras and their lives turned inside out in the press and then, like Warner and Sony in the current investigation scam, a settlement shakedown payment is coughed up and Eliot gets another belt in his notch. When his campaign officially gets in gear and he starts wheeling the commercials and direct mailing out with abandon, it’ll be all “fighting the fat cats” crap and the “defender of the little guy” facade he is trying to cloak himself with to help propel him into the New York governorship. And a lot of people will swallow it whole.

There’s one problem: Eliot pretty much never actually proves his cases in court. Hell, most times hurling the charges is as far as it gets; he drags his targets through the mud until they decide to cough over the payola required for Eliot to leave them alone. Eliot’s game–as it seems is, again, being played here–is to pick an industry to be screwed over for whatever reason resonates best with the public and press. He hurls wild allegations and announces he is “investigating.” But when it comes to actually hauling his “bad” guys into court and proving his case….

He may be called the Attorney General but he shows little interest in the law. The one time he dared take some beleaguered Wall Street character to trial — former Bank of America Corp. broker Theodore Sihpol III, accused of helping hedge funds trade illegally in mutual funds — the jury ran him out of the courtroom.

NY’s Republican Party is pretty much swimming in a shitbowl of disarray, which is particularly bad because it means whoever they end up running against Spitzer will probably act more as a sacrificial lamb than determined, supported opponent, while scumbags like Joe Bruno and Allie Boy D’Amato consoldate their personal power in Albany.

And after the way Spitzer has used the power of the attorney general’s office to extort money out of various industries that NYC–and therefore the state–need to keep the economy humming, I’m pretty sure a lot of those industries, which no longer have any compelling reason to be in New York other than the name of the town’s cachet, will head for the hills in fear of what this cheap shakedown artist will do with the full power of the state of New York in his hands.

I might join them. I’m betting one of Spitzer’s first moves will be to whack everybody who earns more than a benjamin a day with tax hikes. If the Republicans lose control of the state senate, and considering what a dumb prick Bruno is, picking a fight with Mayor Billionaire when his party is on the ropes and Bloomberg (who gives jack shit about the Repubs’ Albany majority, or the overall state party, period) can hammer them into minority status with the loose change in his pants pockets, if so inclined, it would no longer be worth betting on whether taxes in New York would go up; it’ll be a holy mortal lock. The only question would be, “How much?”

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