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Two Politicians Arrested for Alleged Scheme to Rig Mayor Race in NYC
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Two politicians were arrested on Tuesday morning at their homes in relation to an alleged plot to rig the race for the mayor of New York City, according to The Associated Press. The two arrested are New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that 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.”

  
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Smith said he would bribe leaders of Republican Party county committees near New York City so he could run for mayor as a Republican despite being registered as a Democrat. Smith told this to a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent. The agent was posing as a wealthy real estate developer, according to the criminal complaint.

Others charged in the scheme include the following: Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino; Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone; Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin; and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret.

Payments were going to be made to Savino and Tabone and Smith was going to obtain state funds for a road project in Spring Valley. The road project would then benefit a real estate project in the Spring Valley area that Smith thought was being headed by the FBI agent.

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“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,” Bharara said.

In a statement, FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said, “Elected officials are called public servants because they are supposed to serve the people. Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment. People in New York, in Spring Valley — in any city or town in this country — rightly expect their elected or appointed representatives to hold themselves to a higher standard. At the very least, public officials should obey the law. As alleged, these defendants did not obey the law; they broke the law and the public trust. There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal.”



The charges filed in the case include bribery, extortion, and wire and mail fraud.

Todd Shapiro, the spokesman for Smith, said the following: “The Senator has record of 13 years of dedication, hard work and integrity to the people he serves in Queens. He has provided to the heath, safety and well-being of the almost 20 million residents in New York. He will be vindicated when the all the facts in the case are revealed.”



 

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