Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Trade Group Says 'No Sour Grapes' after Gov. Spurns Fruit Basket

Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Trade Group Says 'No Sour Grapes' after Gov. Spurns Fruit Basket

Article excerpt

New York's Republican Gov. George Pataki could have been mixing apples and oranges when he refused a Valentine's Day gift basket from the state's thrift trade group.

The Community Bankers Association of New York State tried to present Mr. Pataki and legislative leaders with baskets of fruit, pasta, and candies for their staffs.

But the new governor rejected the sent to him basket, startling the thrift trade group, which considered the gift "just a way to cheer up a midwinter day and a crummy, cold Albany," said spokesman Stephen W. Rice. The governor's basket was the only one returned, Mr. Rice said. The baskets, which cost less than $65 each, were intended for the staffs to dig into, not to influence officials, he added.

"You don't really go around winning friends and influencing people with pasta and fruit," Mr. Rice said, laughing.

According to state ethics laws, the governor and other executive branch officials are allowed to accept gifts of less than $75.

As far as Mr. Rice is concerned, the spurned gift basket won't result in sour grapes.

Robert P. Pincus, president and chief executive of Franklin Bancorp. in Washington, D.C., is trying to take the bank from the rafters to center court.

The $264 million-asset bank is sponsoring a college basketball tournament next December featuring such teams as the University of Maryland, University of Florida, George Washington University, and the University of Massachusetts. The teams will play in what is to be known as the "Franklin National Bank Classic" at USAir Arena, and the games will be televised nationally, Mr. Pincus said. …

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