Running for Albany County D.A., His Hands Are Caught in the Adult Industry Cookie Jar

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ALBANY — from – Lee Kindlon [pictured] received thousands of dollars in contributions from supporters with ties to gambling and the adult entertainment industry.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares received thousands of dollars in contributions the Kindlon campaign contends he cannot use.

Those revelations surfaced one day after the state Board of Elections released the latest campaign filings in the primary race for Albany County district attorney — figures that showed Kindlon with a near 3-to-1 advantage in funds over the two-time incumbent.

Kindlon, an Albany-based defense attorney, now holds a war chest of $23,499 compared with $8,210 for Soares.

Six of Kindlon’s top donors hold positions at First Global Billing, a merchant services company in Ballston Spa.

Christian Thomas of Ballston Spa, the group’s managing director, gave Kindlon $1,000. On the LinkedIn website, he listed among his groups and associations L.A.dult Industry Professionals, the profile of which noted “immense traffic, video streaming, e-commerce, payment processing and limitless content make adult websites some of the most profitable and viewed pages on the web … this group is geared to expand and strengthen the ever-so-valuable network within the industry.”

Thomas also listed an entity called Adult Merchant, which “offers the Lowest merchant credit card processing for high risk adult merchants (and can) accept customer credit cards for processing in the USA and offshore adult processing.”

Glenn Murphy of Clifton Park, the vice president of business development at First Global Billing, who gave Kindlon $1,000, listed “Adult Merchant Services,” among his groups on LinkedIn. His profile stated the group is “focused on the payment processing aspect of the industry.”

Brett Thompson of Loudonville, the compliance manager at First Global Billing, who gave Kindlon $1,050, officially trademarked a clothing logo called “The Marijuana Bootleggers,” which he also “liked” on his Facebook page.

The specialities of First Global Billing include high-risk merchant accounts, offshore banking, private banking and “medical tourism,” according to the LinkedIn profile of First Global Billing’s chief operations officer, Michael Carbonara of West Palm Beach, Fla.. He contributed $1,001 to Kindlon, as well as a $894 fundraiser listed as an in-kind donation.

His brother, Joseph Carbonara, the group’s chief financial officer, who gave Kindlon $1,000, listed his groups and associations on LinkedIn to include Online Gaming and Gambling Professionals, Private Money Lending and Offshore Financial Centers.

Kindlon accepted $1,000 from Louis A. Santaro of Manlius, outside Syracuse. In 2005, The Post-Standard of Syracuse reported that Santaro was charged in a large-scale gambling bust in Onondaga County that netted, among others, late Syracuse-area gambling kingpin George Bedigian. He had never served a day in prison before being charged by Soares’ office in 2008 in the largest gambling case in Albany County history.

Public records show Santaro has owned a property at 809 N. McBride St. in Syracuse — where Bedigian lived before his death. No disposition about Santaro’s case was available. Last year, Santaro contributed $1,000 to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, who sparred with Soares that his office interfered with his office’s gambling investigation in 2008.

Brad Maione, a spokesman for Soares’ campaign, said, “Running for DA is unlike seeking any other office. When you raise money you are not absorbing contributions from those who disagree with the incumbent as if a sponge.”

Kindlon’s campaign manager, Eddie Ayala, told the Times Union: “We will take a look at these contributions and determine what, if any, adjustments need to be made to our vetting process.”

Ayala contends Soares is operating at a near $14,000 deficit below zero because Soares cannot use most of the combined $25,000 he received from Manhattan financier George Soros and his son, Alexander, or most of the $10,000 he received last year from SEIU 1199, the state’s largest health care union. He said based on election rules, Soares cannot spend more than $4,317 from any single contributor toward the primary.

“We’re looking at an eight-year incumbent who has clearly lost support and whose campaign is broke,” he stated. “Soares doesn’t have $8,000 to spend against Lee, he has $0 because he exceeded the primary contribution limits.”

A state Board of Elections spokesman said Soares can use the money toward the primary — if he wins. If he loses, he must give it back.

The Soares campaign contends the incumbent can use the money before the primary.

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