Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican, bundled $47,550 in contributions to New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, the latest disclosure filings show. He tapped donors ranging from Long Island developer Jan Burman, and members of the Mack real estate family, to former Nassau Interim Finance Authority member Robert Wild.
"Bill Thompson can bring people together," said D'Amato, who's listed as intermediary on the donations. He declared support for Thompson months ago.
D'Amato added that although he considers billionaire GOP candidate John Catsimatidis a friend, and likes Republican contender Joseph Lhota, "I think the Democrat will be the overwhelming favorite, and I want it to be the best person possible. Bill has an excellent record as comptroller and knows the fiscal problems the city is going into."
In addition to the checks he bundled, Katuria D'Amato, the ex-senator's wife, donated the maximum $4,950 to Thompson. His son Christopher and brother, Armand D'Amato, contributed smaller amounts, under limits that apply to lobbyists. Both work for D'Amato's Park Strategies firm.
The firm, by the way, also employs David Catalfamo, the media spokesman for both GOP mayoral candidate George McDonald, founder of the nonprofit Doe Fund, and former Gov. George Pataki -- who last week endorsed Catsimatidis.
Thompson's biggest bundler was Randy Mastro, a Democratic former deputy mayor in Rudy Giuliani's administration, who collected $58,600, mostly from members of his law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Llp. Lhota -- another ex-Giuliani deputy -- has since entered the race with the ex-mayor's backing. Last month, Mastro sent Lhota $1,000; in January Mastro donated $1,000 to Democratic Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, also a mayoral candidate, records show.
TALE OF TENACITY: Lawyer Regina Calcaterra, the state utility-commission director and former Suffolk deputy executive, has penned a harrowing personal memoir, "Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island." Due out in August from Harper Collins, it tells of how she and four siblings survived abuse and the foster-care system. "I wrote our story," she said last week, "as a true-life reminder of how community and perseverance can lift even the poorest and most disadvantaged children among us into a thriving, contributing life."