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1996 Pontiac Grand Am no start

I bought a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am, which is becoming a little more that I can deal with. When I bought the car the traction control light was on. I was told that the switch on the gear shift was disconnected. when I removed the gear selector I found the wires had been cut. I can not pass Mass state inspection with a light on my dash so I reconnected the switch, turned on the ignition and the light went off, then there was a puff of smoke from the steering column, and now the car will not start, no crank. all the lights come on, but when the key is turned there is no starter sound. Also - there is a very serious water leak from the passenger and drivers cowl area. May be related but the vehicle started great just before I turned the traction control on.