New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested today in an alleged plot to rig the New York City mayor's race. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says in a statement that Smith "tried to bribe his way" into a shot at the New York City mayoral race. Bharara says Smith "drew up the game plan" and Halloran found party chairmen who were open to receiving bribes. The arrests included four others, including two from the Hudson Valley’s Rockland County.
As mentioned, also involved are Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin; and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, both Democrats. Here’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaking earlier today in Manhattan:
Preet :11 “for corrupt reasons”
That audio is courtesy of YNN.
This scheme, according to the filed complaint, allegedly involved Mayor Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Desmaret, and their alleged receipt of financial benefits, including Jasmin’s receipt of a hidden interest in a real estate project and Desmaret’s receipt of approximately $10,500 in cash bribes, in exchange for official acts.
Also charged are: Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino; and Queens GOP Vice Party Chairman Vincent Tabone.
The criminal complaint alleges that in exchange for payments to Savino and Tabone, Smith agreed to use his power as a senator to help obtain state funds for a road project in Spring Valley. That, in turn, allegedly, was to benefit a real estate project that Smith believed was being built by a developer who was actually an undercover agent.
That’s Bennett Gershman - a professor at Pace University School of Law, in Westchester County, and a former prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Rockland County, the Clarkstown Town Board held a special board meeting today to discuss whether to retain the services of the Law Office of Joseph J. Savino to represent the town in tax certiorari matters, in light of the charges filed against Savino. The Town Board unanimously voted to terminate the contract, effective immediately. For the time being, the Town Attorney’s Office will cover pending court appearances while replacement counsel is sought.
State Senator David Carlucci, an independent Democrat whose district includes Spring Valley, released a statement, part of which reads, quote, “I look forward to hearing the details of this wide-ranging investigation as they begin to unfold. As the United States Attorney had indicated, in no way whatsoever was I, or any member of my staff, involved in the alleged criminal misconduct and subsequent charges filed this morning. On the contrary, these actions speak to a broader, more fundamental reason as to why I ran for office in the first place – to clean up the culture of corruption that pervades our politics.” End of quote.
Again, that statement is from State Senator David Carlucci, an independent Democrat whose district includes Spring Valley.