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Gerry and family big donors to GOP
By John Milgrim
Ottaway News Service
Albany - Former cable TV magnate Alan Gerry and his close relatives contributed more than $75,000 to Republican campaign war chests, according to campaign finance filings from June 1999 to this July.
Most of that went directly to Gov. George Pataki's re-election account.
Pataki yesterday announced $15 million in state aid for Gerry's $40 million performing arts center planned for the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, a project winning bipartisan praise.
"I would imagine he's among the biggest contributors in the region," said SUNY New Paltz dean and politics professor Gerald Benjamin. "I think that certainly being a major contributor helps a person like Mr. Gerry gain access to the governor."
Gerry, for example, wrote a check for $10,000 on April 20 to Pataki's campaign war chest, and matched it the next day with another check. In all, Gerry and his close relatives donated about $55,000 to Pataki between June 1999 and this July and another $20,000 to the state Republican Committee.
"There's been very serious research on this and it's very hard to link the quid for the quo," Benjamin said. "Yes, you gain access, yes, you get a hearing. But it (the project) has to make sense, and have merits such as the expected economic windfall to the region."
Copyright August 2000, The Times Herald-Record, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., all rights reserved.