^
Keep New Times Free
4

Employee of New York Gubernatorial Candidate Served Time in Arizona for DUI Hit and Run -- By "Employee," We Mean Campaign Driver

Most people convicted of a hit-and-run DUI in Arizona have a tough time getting a job at McDonald's. One man, however, has overcome the limitations of a DUI conviction and landed himself a pretty sweet gig: driving around Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor of New York.

Rus Thompson is a 54-year-old concrete truck salesman. He's a Tea Party activist and is regarded as the one who convinced Paladino, an upstate New York real estate developer, that he should run for governor in the first place.

Thompson was profiled by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, where he's described as Paladino's driver, adviser, and liaison to many tea-party groups.

The "driver" part of that description is what's raised some concerns in the Empire State.

Following the Journal's profile, Thompson confessed to the newspaper that he'd served jail time in Arizona after he'd run into a car and driven away. He admits he was drunk at the time.

In 1990, Thompson says, he was drinking at a bar-b-que at his brother's house in Tucson.

The two got into an argument so Thompson got in his car and drove off. While turning a corner, he clipped a car and was stopped by police shortly after.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Nobody was hurt, and Thompson says he admitted right away that he was the one who clipped the car.

Thompson served eight weekends in jail and says while he used to be an alcoholic, he hasn't had a drink since the accident.

The campaign is standing by its man and announced today that despite Thompson's past, he will stay on as Paladino's driver.

"Unless we're on an airplane, he's driving Carl everywhere he goes," Paladino's campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said today.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.