Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Smith, Halloran Arrested For Pittance Compared To Bloomberg's Independence Party Bribes

When you look at the details of the alleged criminal wrongdoing by Dan Halloran, Malcolm Smith, the Republican Party operatives and the Westchester pols arrested on bribery and fraud charges this morning, you realize that there really wasn't a lot of money being thrown around.

The NY Times account has Halloran receiving $20,000 in bribes, negotiating $40,000 or $50,000 in bribes for GOP officials to finagle Smith's name onto the GOP ballot even though Smith was a Democrat, Smith complaining that the operatives were trying to shake him down for more.

Contrast those five figure bribes with the bribes Michael Bloomberg handed out to Independence Party figures through three election cycles, as chronicled by the Daily News back in December 2102:

Much ado about next to nothing, Mayor Bloomberg said of this series of editorials about the Independence Party. “What’s the big deal?” he asked.

To answer the question: The big deal is that a clique of political operatives with no claim to broad public support has played a powerful role in determining who runs New York — notably Bloomberg — while making dupes of voters.

By the thousands, New Yorkers have mistakenly joined the Independence Party when enrolling to vote. Intending to have no political affiliation, these voters instead checked the “Independence Party” box — empowering the group to exploit an illusion of popular strength.

Still more seriously, Independence leaders have exercised the authority to back candidates by stocking legally mandated governing panels with the names of unwitting people, many of whom have no idea they are listed as party members.

Bearing the earmarks of orchestrated fraud, the tactics represent a distortion of the democratic process as it has been established by state law and court rulings.

No New York official has built closer ties to Independence leaders or benefited more from their support than Bloomberg. He ran as their candidate in three mayoral campaigns, twice scoring votes on the Independence line that exceeded his margin of victory.
The history of how he secured the favor offers both a look at Independence Party power playing and an understanding of how determinedly the mayor courted the Newmanites. As you might expect, money played a key role.
Roll the clock back to 2001. Although Bloomberg opened what seemed the world’s largest checkbook, he was handicapped as a Republican running in a Democratic city.

Only three modern Republicans — Fiorello LaGuardia, John Lindsay and Rudy Giuliani — had made it into City Hall. All had succeeded by running as the GOP candidate and as the candidate of a second party. No dummy, Bloomberg reached out to Independence Party state Chairman Frank MacKay.

Word came back that Bloomberg needed Newman’s blessing. So the aspiring mayor made a pilgrimage to 60 Bank St., a West Village townhouse where Newman lived with his followers.
Among those in residence were Gabrielle Kurlander and Jackie Salit. The New York Times described the two women in Newman’s 2011 obituary as his life partners in an “unconventional family of choice.”

The Bloomberg-Newman meeting brought the Jewish businessman billionaire face to face with a man who was an avowed Marxist, plus a Jew with a record of making anti-Semitic pronouncements, plus an unaccredited psychological counselor who espoused patient-therapist sex known as “friendosexuality.”

Newman was in charge because he and his adherents had taken control of the Independence Party, an organization founded in the 1990s by breakaway Republicans. Now, he gave his stamp of approval — and the ballot line — to Bloomberg.

But trouble erupted when Newman’s firebrand ally Lenora Fulani declared four days after 9/11 that the attack was “all too much the result of how America has positioned itself in the world.” She added: “It is easy to forget that the attack . . . itself was an act of revenge.”

Bloomberg called on Independence Party leaders to disavow Fulani’s statement, announcing: “I will not campaign on their line, and I will urge people not to vote for any candidate on that line, myself included.”

Newman refused a disavowal. Bloomberg backed down and kept the line rather than heighten his risk of defeat. The strategy worked. He scored 59,000 Independence votes, almost twice the slim margin of victory that put him into City Hall.

No politician forgets numbers like that. Bloomberg was soon solidifying bonds with Newman.

Over the years, he contributed $400,000 of his personal wealth to New York City Independence Party accounts. He also gave a total of $650,000 to two causes run by Newman followers: the All Stars Project, a nonprofit that works with underprivileged children, and a theater group that showcases propaganda plays written by, you guessed it, Newman.

Meanwhile, the city Industrial Development Agency enabled the All Stars Project to buy and renovate a W. 42nd St. building with the help of $12.75 million in triple-tax-free bonding. The city is not on the hook for the debt, and the administration says the financing program is open to all qualified nonprofit groups.

Bloomberg pushed the deal over opposition from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, then-Controller Bill Thompson, then-Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and then-Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion.

The opponents cited anti-Semitic remarks by Fulani. Bloomberg, who had called the statements “despicable,” said they were not legal grounds for spurning the All Stars.

Thanks to the financing assistance, the All Stars have a modern theater complex that will be home in the 2012-13 season to seven shows, three of them Newman-related — including a production called “Carmen’s Place,” book and music and lyrics by Newman. Photographs of Newman adorn the lobby and offices that are viewable from the street.

In 2005 and 2009, Newman again gave the Independence ballot line to Bloomberg — delivering him 75,000 votes in 2005, less than the mayor’s margin of victory, and 150,000 votes in 2009, more than his winning margin.
 Meanwhile, Bloomberg was also working with state chairman MacKay, a former nightclub owner and talent agent who has prospered by providing clandestine help to the mayor.

In 2008, Bloomberg poured $1.35 million into one of MacKay’s fund-raising accounts. MacKay spent most of the money on consultants in a hidden attempt by the mayor to support the reelection of three Republican state senators. After the election, MacKay paid himself a $60,000 “consulting fee.”

In 2009, as Bloomberg sought a third term, he sent an additional $1.2 million to MacKay for the purpose of hiring Republican operative John Haggerty to monitor poll sites for election fraud — a task that was likely to prompt charges of voter intimidation.

By routing the funds through MacKay, Bloomberg kept the activity under wraps — until the Manhattan district attorney charged Haggerty with stealing $1.1 million of the mayor’s money to buy a house. Haggerty was sent to prison.

Seriously, compared to Bloomberg's criminal legacy with the Independence Party, the Smith/Halloran/GOP operatives mess is penny ante.

Count up the bribes Bloomberg gave to people in the Independence Party as chronicled by the NY Daily News.

$400,000 to the personal accounts of Independence Party figures.

$650,000 in charitable contributions to charities run and/or affiliated with Independence Party figures.

$12.75 million in tax breaks to a charity run by an Independence Party figure.

$1.35 million laundered through the fundraising account of the Independence Party chairman, which the Independence Party used to re-elect three Republican state senators.  The Independence Party chairman paid himself $60,000 for enabling that money laundering scheme by the mayor.

$1.2 million to Independence Party operatives to intimidate voters at the polls - $1.1 million of which was "stolen" by John Haggerty.

And those are the bribes and money laundering events that we know about.

You can be sure there are more behind the scenes.

Bloomberg has used the Independence Party to engineer three terms in City Hall, to re-elect three Republican state senators so that his policies would be promoted in Albany and has paid Independence Party officials and affiliates handsomely in return.

If Smith and Halloran have been arrested on charges of trying to rig the 2013 mayoral race, why isn't Bloomberg sitting in a cell next to them for successively rigging three mayoral elections and three state senate elections?

Well, you know what they say:

Steal a little and they throw you in jail.

Steal a lot and they make you Mayor4Life.

1 comment:


    ...and in the Imperial White House....the private celebrity parties go on...and on...and on...with of course the weekend golf outings ALL the time now...By the way...there is no longer any public access to this White House due to "the sequester"...they can't afford to have the public tours of the White House any more...but celebrity parties, invitation only...HELL for that...