STONEzone EXCLUSIVE By Roger Stone

Espada plot made him switch
Republican State Senate leader Dean Skelos and his Press Secretary and Chief Political Advisor John McArdle attempted to stage a coup that would cast Senator Pedro Espada aside and make Senator Jeffrey Klein (D) the new Senate President. Klein was to bring a handful of other Democrats to the 'new' coalition with Skelos delivering all the Republicans. The plot brought the so-called bi-partisan coalition down and cost Skelos the Majority Leader's position. When Klein was unable to deliver any other support, Skelos and McArdle opened negotiations with Senator Carl Kruger and the so-called 'Amigos' including Senators Rueben Diaz, Sr., Senator Hiram Monserrate offering to make Kruger Senator President if the Amigos would back a new coup. Kruger demanded both positions be filled by Democrats asking Skelos if he wanted the "title or the power?" Despite Skelos effort to dump Espada with Klein, Espada tried to facilitate an arrangement with the Amigos to get a working majority in the Senate that was truly bipartisan. When Skelos insisted on retaining his title any chance collapsed. The plots back-fired when Klein informed Espada of the treachery of his new Republican allies and the Bronx Democrat rejoined the Democrats with the inducement of the Senate Majority Leader's position. Democrats who were denouncing Espada and vowing never to recognize him as Senate President in that morning's New York Post, were electing him Majority Leader by lunchtime. Espada extracted commitments that the reforms in the Senate passed to make the Senate more open and divide resources more fairly would stand and Upstate billionaire Tom Golisano extracted similar reform commitments from the new leadership. It was made clear that Smith will leave in January to make way for Sampson. Skelos and McCardle conducted the secret talks that brought their rule down behind the backs of Senator Tom Libous and Senator George Maziars, the two senators most instrumental in staging the stunning and legal Senate take-over and without the knowledge of Upstate reformer Tom Golisano who was also key to getting Espada to join a coup and commit to a rapid reform agenda for the rotting Albany process. Gov David Paterson was right when he said the perks being proffered to the turn-coats including those offered to Klein by Skelos to jump ship bordered on the illegal. Senate Republicans upset about being out of the majority again can blame Skelos and his clueless sidekick McArdle for ending their brief return to power.