By Roger Stone Former New York Governor George Pataki was elected in 1994 in a surprise victory over incumbent Mario Cuomo, largely due to the $14.5 million raised by wealthy GOP rainmaker Charles Gargano.

Ex-NY Gov. Pataki with
Charles Gargano in tow
Pataki's finance chairman made his fortune in the private sector as an executive at a construction company fined for bid-rigging in Long Island sewer contracts. Never personally snared in that 1970s investigation, Gargano entered campaign politics, initially as a bagman for Senator Alfonse D'Amato. D'Amato sought to get Gargano appointed Ambassador to Italy, but I blocked him by supplying the Reagan White House with extensive materials on Gargano's background and associations. D'Amato and Pataki tried again under President George Bush, but the dusted-off file still raised too many questions. Gargano was given a consolation prize- Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago-under President Ronald Reagan. He was widely criticized for being AWOL when Muslim fundamentalists staged a bloody coup on the island nation. As chairman of N.Y. Inaugural '95, the private group behind Pataki's widely criticized glitzy inaugural, Gargano shook down corporations doing business with the State for up to $25,000 donations each, raising $500,000 for what was historically a staid ceremony and celebration. Sources of that cash were never revealed - a move endorsed by Gov. Pataki - and Pataki's governorship began with many IOUs. Widely known for dabbling in penny stock companies, Gargano served on the board of publicly traded companies accused of securities fraud - facts that came to light when he was appointed head of Pataki's Empire Development Corporation and as Commissioner of the Port Authority. From his seat at the State's official developer, he oversaw reconstruction of Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 2001. This major project and others, including Moynihan Station, were so mired in politics and controversy that in 2008 media commentators still called the failed efforts doomed by screw-ups that were squarely his and Pataki's fault. In charge of billions of contract dollars, Gargano was widely criticized for culling political donations from companies which then conducted State business. According to the New York Times, "it was hard to know which Charles Gargano was sitting at the table -- the one asking state business leaders for [campaign] money or the one giving them the taxpayers' money." Criticized for tens of thousands of dollars in questionable expenditures as a public servant, Gargano resigned all his government posts soon after Pataki left the Governor's office. Today, he's back to his old tricks in penny stocks and has brought along his pal Pataki to cash in on the scams. In June 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into Perf Go-Green, Inc. where they both serve on the Board of Directors. The company's volatile stock doubled and then halved as pictures of Pataki and Gargano were used in spam emails pumping the stock. For more on the latest illegal scam by Pataki and Gargano go to