Irish American pagan among those arrested by FBI in New York mayoral bribe scam


Two months ago, on February 8, Halloran met with the agent and informant to tell them the Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino "wanted $25,000 'in an envelope,' and Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone wanted $50,000 with half of the money before he signed the (ballot-support) certificate and the other half after."

US Attorney Preet Bharara said, “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. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest.

"We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s problem.”

Feds also raided the homes of the Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone who were arrested on charges of wire fraud and bribery.

Also arrested on Tuesday were Noramie Jasmin, the mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County, and her deputy mayor, Joseph Desmaret. They are accused of taking bribes in return for approving the sale of village land to a private concern.

If convicted, Smith and Halloran could face up to 45 years in prison. Their prosecution will rely heavily on wire tapes and recorded conversations.

Halloran, too, is no stranger to controversy.

During the Christmas blizzard of 2010, the first-term councilman from Bayside claimed he had evidence that Sanitation Department plow drivers were intentionally slowing down the cleanup as part of a wildcat job action.

But he refused to assist in the feds’ probe, citing attorney-client privilege.

The city’s Department of Investigation later released a report that found “no actual evidence about a possible slowdown.”

Halloran, a 42-year-old lawyer and former city cop, ran for Congress last year.

During that campaign, The Post reported the state Board of Elections had referred his campaign to the Albany DA for investigation and possible prosecution because he had not filed state campaign-finance reports for more than two years.

Halloran later filed the appropriate forms, but lost to then-Assemblywoman Grace Meng.

Today's arrests stunned GOP mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, who employed Tabone as a top campaign adviser.

Catsimatidis said he immediately took Tabone off the campaign and called the whole affair “very sad.”