Main | Tuesday, April 02, 2013

NY State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) Busted In Plot To Fix NYC Mayoral Race

Democratic New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith and NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran (R-Queens) were both arrested by the FBI this morning on charges that they had conspired to fix this year's New York City mayoral race.
Mr. Smith was taken from his Queens home in handcuffs before sunrise and Mr. Halloran was arrested at about the same time, the people said. Mr. Smith has said he was considering running for mayor of New York as a Republican, and the charges contend that he made payments to Mr. Halloran in exchange for the councilman’s assistance in setting up meetings with Republican leaders as part of an effort to get on the ballot, one of the people said. The criminal complaint in the case, which was brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, was expected to be unsealed later on Tuesday morning, when Mr. Smith, Mr. Halloran and the others appear before a United States magistrate judge in United States District Court in White Plains.
Several other people were also arrested today including Bronx GOP chairman Jay Savino, Queens GOP vice chairman Vincent Tabone, and the mayor and deputy mayor of Spring Valley, a small town just north of New York City,

UPDATE: The New York Daily News has more details.
A 28-page complaint unsealed this morning detailed the scheme: an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate mogul acted as a facilitator between the politicians and the county leaders, recording hours of conversation between November and last week. Council member Halloran was to receive $20,500 while Tabone and Savino received $40,000 in bribes with a promise of $40,000 more. At meetings in hotels in White Plains in Manhattan and Queens restaurants, Halloran promised to win support for Smith from Savino and Tabone. Smith actively participated in multiple conversations and spoke openly about bribing county leaders.
UPDATE II: Steven Thrasher's 2011 Village Voice profile of Halloran is really something. Whoa. He's a pal of Pam Geller and that's not even the beginning.

UPDATE III: The US District Attorney's office has issued a blistering statement.
Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes.
RELATED: Malcolm Smith was elected Senate Majority Leader in early 2009 after renegade Democrats (the infamous "Gang Of Three") finally ended their anti-gay marriage coup which had put the Senate in GOP hands. Malcolm had been accused of dragging his feet on same-sex marriage even though he publicly supported the issue and appeared at an HRC fundraiser.  Smith was ousted as majority leader in 2010.  All of the Gang Of Three were sentenced to prison on various charges last year.  Last month Democratic former Sen. Shirley Huntley pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. If convicted, Smith could be the fifth New York Senate Democrat sentenced to prison in the span of one year.

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