Bad Bisno-ess?

I’ve been working on this story about some of developer Robert Bisno’s business dealings for some time now. Well, it’s finally out in today’s paper.

The meat and potatoes are basically 1/4 into the story….

Here’s a little snapshot:

“He’s a very smooth crook,” said John T. Emanuele, a San Leandro resident who along with about a dozen other plaintiffs sued Bisno in 2007 over a business deal gone sour.

Emanuele’s suit stems from a Berkeley development project in the 1980s in which a group of investors accused Bisno of taking $453,000 in partnership money to purchase a private residence.

The case went to trial last year and a jury ruled in favor of the investors, said Richard Stratton, Emanuele’s attorney.

Bisno tried to appeal the case, Stratton said, but it was denied.

“He admitted in the trial that he (took the money) to cheat the government, to commit tax fraud,” Stratton said, “not to fraud the investors.”

Emanuele said he and the other partners believe Bisno never intended to pay back the misappropriated funds.

Bisno stands to pay more than $3.5 million in judgements to the remaining investors as a result of the suit, Stratton said.

I tried getting hold of the man himself — Mr. Bisno — last week, but I’m told he doesn’t talk to the media. That’s what John DeClercq is there for. DeClercq is Bisno Development’s vice president and chief operating officer. He argued none of Bisno’s personal litigation matters affect any of his development projects.

I should add, there’s a sidebar about special interest groups that goes along with the story.