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GOP Investigation leads to Strip Club

ALBANY – The federal investigation of GOP powerhouse Joe Bruno has led to a swanky Florida strip joint where nude bombshells perform lap dances for $20, it was reported yesterday.

The 77-year-old New York State senator enjoyed a boys’ night out at Rachel’s in West Palm Beach last year – and rich pal Jared Abbruzzese picked up the tab, according to the Albany Times Union.

The foray to the flesh emporium was part of an expensive two-day Sunshine State vacation bankrolled by Abbruzzese, whose dealings with Bruno are being probed, the newspaper reported.

The June 2006 jaunt – which included a freebie round of golf at an upscale course – was intended to cheer up Bruno, who was battling prostate cancer and whose wife was suffering from an illness that causes dementia, the paper said.

Bruno spokesman John McArdle declined to comment on the Florida excursion. “It was a private trip, and we’re not going to discuss anything he does in his private life that doesn’t affect what he does as a public official,” he said.

Abbruzzese could not be reached for comment.

As the Daily News has reported, the FBI is working with a federal grand jury to determine if Bruno used his personal business dealings to cash in on his position as the Senate’s Republican leader.

The FBI has been scrutinizing a high-tech company in which Abbruzzese – a multimillionaire horse-racing enthusiast – was an initial investor. The company, Evident Technologies, landed $500,000 in state pork-barrel funds steered to it by Bruno.

The Florida trip reportedly came to light after authorities subpoenaed the records of Richmor Aviation, a firm that manages a private jet owned by Abbruzzese.

Bruno has maintained he did nothing wrong.

“I welcome any reviews or any inquiries by anyone, whether they’re feds, state or local,” he told a group of business leaders last week.

Although one GOP senator, John Bonacic of New Paltz, had called for him to step down as leader, Bruno was overwhelmingly chosen by fellow Republicans to keep the top spot.

The Times Union said Abbruzzese and Bruno have a deep personal friendship and the senator is sometimes referred to as “Uncle Joe” by Abbruzzese’s children.


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