FBI arrests legislator in plot to rig NY City mayoral race
FBI agents arrested the Democratic President of the New York State Assembly and a New York City Republican councilman on political corruption charges relating to the NY city mayoral race.
State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, a contractor and real estate developer who rose to become the first black president of the State Senate, and City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III were arrested early Tuesday on charges of trying to fix this year's mayoral race in New York City, according to federal prosecutors.
Mr. Smith, a 56-year-old Democrat, and Mr. Halloran, a Queens Republican, were among a half-dozen people arrested by F.B.I. agents in the federal corruption case. Others included Republican County leaders in Queens and the Bronx, the mayor of the Rockland County village of Spring Valley, Noramie F. Jasmin, and her deputy, Joseph A. Desmaret, according to a criminal complaint.
Most of those involved, according to the complaint, were looking for something - cash bribes were sought by the party officials and Mr. Halloran and Mr. Smith were seeking authorization to get on the ballot in the mayor's race. Ms. Jasmin was seeking an ownership interest in a company she believed was involved in a real estate project.
The senator at one point became impatient, asking the undercover and the cooperating witness during a meeting in his office whether the committee leaders were delaying getting his certificates because they wanted more money.
Mr. Smith, according to the complaint, instructed the two men not to pay the committee leaders any more money until they had "close[d] ... the deal." He also said that before the leaders received "even a nickel more, [he'd] have to stand on the Empire State Building and drop every person [he] endorsed and hold Malcolm up and say he's the best thing since sliced bread. Matter of fact, he's better than sliced bread."
According to the complaint, Mr. Halloran set up a meeting at which the undercover agent and the witness met Joseph J. Savino, the Bronx GOP chairman, and Vincent Tabone, vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, and negotiated the amounts of the bribes for the documents. In exchange, Mr. Halloran sought and received more than $20,000 in cash for himself, prosecutors said.
Mr. Tabone and Mr. Savino were paid cash bribes of more than $40,000 and were promised $40,000 more, and they in turn, agreed to use their official capacities with Republican Party county committees to obtain the documents Mr. Smith would need to run for mayor as a Republican.
It sounds like the Feds have Smith dead to rights but you never know.
Still, there will almost certainly be additional plea deals in exchange for damning testimony against Smith and Halloran. This probably won't effect the mayoral race because no candidates have been implicated. But it should give candidates an issue they can run on that will help determine the winner.