Sunday, August 1, 2004

GOP lobbyist linked to rogue stockbroker

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - A criminal charge has linked a Republican lobbyist to rogue stockbroker Frank Gruttadauria, who told authorities he used a bribe to secure state business.

Andrew Futey pleaded guilty and was convicted of misdemeanor complicity in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Friday. The charge contends Matthew Borges, former chief of staff for state Treasurer Joseph Deters, placed Gruttadauria on a list of preferred brokers with Futey's help.

Judge Richard McMonagle will sentence Futey Aug. 30.

Special Prosecutor Thomas Sammon said Gruttadauria paid Futey, 38, of suburban North Royalton, $110,000. In a plea agreement, Futey, a former assistant to Sen. George Voinovich when he was governor, will forfeit $25,000 to the county.

Mark Stanton, one of Futey's lawyers, declined to comment.

Borges, 32, of Columbus, was convicted Tuesday of misuse of a public office from March 1999 to March 2001, after pleading guilty to giving preferential treatment, including lucrative trades, to some brokers.

Deters' fund-raiser, Eric Sagun, 35, of Columbus, was convicted of an election-law violation for soliciting a contribution from Gruttadauria in December 2001 that both knew was intended for Deters' campaign. The $50,000 donation was funneled to the private operating account of the Hamilton County Republican Party.

"It was a triangle," Sammon said. "Futey introduced Gruttadauria to Sagun and Borges, and it ended in a pay-to-play operation."

Deters has denied any wrongdoing. A grand jury investigation of his role found no reason to bring a charge.

Gruttadauria is serving a seven-year sentence for bilking clients out of $125 million. He pleaded guilty in March to state charges and agreed to cooperate with a grand jury investigation.

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