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Bronx newspaper uncovers questionable donations to Senate IDC leader

 By Tom Precious

ALBANY –- State Sen. Jeff Klein is giving back some sizable campaign donations, including some om an individual with organized crime ties, after an investigation by a weekly newspaper in the Bronx.

A Klein spokesman this evening confirmed the senator is returning the donations in question. Here is just the top part of the article published by the Riverdale Press on its web page today:

State Sen. Jeff Klein, one of the most prolific fund raisers in the state and now one of its most powerful legislators, has accepted more than $150,000 from some donors with felony convictions and others with ties to organized crime, a Press investigation of campaign filings, court filings and news stories has found.

There is no evidence that Mr. Klein granted any favors to his donors in return for their offerings. What is known is these developers have helped Mr. Klein amass one of the largest war chests in the Senate. 

As recently as June, Mr. Klein’s campaign committee, New Yorkers for Klein, received $2,500 from Cava Construction, Inc., whose owner and president Carmine Della Cava was convicted of a bid-rigging scheme in the 1990s.

Mr. Klein has received a total of $27,500 from the company since 2005 — approximately 81 percent of the company’s total campaign contributions. 

After reporters made him aware of Mr. Della Cava’s criminal past, Mr. Klein said he planned to direct all the money he’s received from Cava Construction to charity.

“In order to ensure that we adhere to the highest standards, New Yorkers for Klein regularly monitors incoming contributions. Now that we are aware of Mr. Della Cava’s conviction, we are directing all of his donations to local Bronx charities,” Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Mr. Klein, said in a statement.

Mr. Della Cava served just over two years of an eight-year sentence in a Pennsylvania federal prison for racketeering, according The New York Times. Before that, he was a driver for a Genovese crime organization boss in the mid-80s, according to The Times.

Mr. Della Cava’s cousin, Vincent Cafaro, a mobster turned informant, identified Mr. Della Cava as a Genovese representative to an organized crime commission that controlled concrete contracts for high-rise construction in Manhattan, according to a New York Times article. 



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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |