Tag Archive: Austin Shafran

Oct 16 2013

The Truth Behind Democrat Paul Graziano’s Latest GOP Endorsement


When he’s not bankrolling looney Republican campaigns, Paul Graziano is out bashing his fellow dems with lies and mistruths leading us to wonder why would this guy even run as a Democrat to begin with?

Hell hath no fury like a ponytailed politician.

Democrat Paul Graziano campaigned to represent democratic constituents and be their nominee for the City Council with the hope of joining the democratic conference, but he betrayed those folks with a recent endorsement of a conservative republican based on his own personal vendetta, not what’s best for the community.

After matching funds were dispersed for the primary, all four candidates had a fair shot. Democrat Paul Graziano with his silly haircut and a record of no community service nor business experience, and whose sole claim to fame was being Tony Avella’s lap dog and pandering to the biggest weirdos in the civic world, lost the primary fair and square by coming in third place to victor Paul Vallone, Austin Shafran, and a near loss to John Duane.

The results of this primary show us that a majority of democratic voters knew they couldn’t trust Graziano to represent the community and that his latest endorsement of conservative republican Dennis Saffran, by his own admission, was clearly made out of personal bitterness with a PAC (that despite being unconnected to Paul Vallone) sent out mailers questioning Graziano’s checkered past which infuriated him is living proof that those voters were correct. But the truth, however, didn’t matter to Graziano, he blamed Vallone for the mailers even though he had nothing to do with the matter.

So what does Graziano do after his pitiful loss? Forget any semblance of democratic unity or any chance of attacking the actual PAC that sent out the mailers, instead he openly blamed Paul Vallone out of sour grapes. And spitefully, with his pony tail flapping in the air, he turned his back on all democrats by endorsing the conservative republican nominee, Dennis Saffran, a Tea Party fanatic that does not represent the interests of this community. Thankfully for the constituents of CD 19 this endorsement is as meaningless as a Tony Avella press conference.

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Hypocrisy? Graziano complained about lobbyists in the community saying they would sell-out the community for their own self-interests when here, Graziano clearly made this endorsement out of his very own self-interest: To satisfy his blood lust with a petty act of revenge, not what’s best for the people. So far, while the major papers ran the story as if his endorsement really mattered, they failed to ask if it was personally motivated.

On another note, while Graziano decried the flyers in one breath, in another he promotes free speech and supports vigorous debate. Looks like he’s trying to burn the candle at both ends. New York Times best-selling political novelist, Brad Thor once said, “I live in America. I have the right to write whatever I want. And it’s equaled by another right just as powerful: the right not to read it. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people,” but tell that to this hypocrite.

The message is clear to those who look beyond the headlines. Graziano’s latest campaign gimmick places his own personal bitterness over the best choice for the constituents he wished to serve with nothing more than a disgraceful and petty act of revenge. His political partnership with Tea Party fanatic Dennis Saffran is meant to mislead people and betrays democrats and republicans alike. Just imagine what these two would do to the community if we let them get elected. Shame on you Paul.


A reader sent us this comment,

As Paul led all his opponents in pre-Primary polls, they each targeted him for attack, slinging mud at him for the support he received from an organization he legally could not control.

Paul indeed was the only candidate who DID NOT sling mud at his opponents, running by-far the cleanest and most positive campaign of all. -Anonymous

To have your comments posted, email info@queens-politics.com with your real name, age, city, occupation, and highest level of education attained. Comments can be published anonymously if you request. We just want to know who we’re talking to. Sorry, no trolls.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/paul-grazianos-endorsement-is-an-act-of-revenge/

Aug 13 2013

Who’s Winning the Money Race?


Saffran even took a shot at the seat twelve years ago, losing by a scant 400 votes to Tony Avella.

While the Democratic candidates are busy campaigning against each other, Republican hopeful Dennis Saffran finds the time to raise funds unhindered by the looming primary.

In most parts of this City the results of the primary election almost always decide the result of the general election.  Few districts remain competitive after their respective primaries but there are a few exceptions like in the 19th CD in Northeast Queens, which is the home turf of the Queens Republican Party and the stomping grounds of Councilman Dan Halloran who was arrested on corruption charges in April and not seeking reelection.

Enter Dennis Saffran, an attorney and member of the Douglaston Civic Association, who has thrown his hat into the ring with the full weight of the Queens GOP backing up the play for the 19th. But could he win?

In retrospect, the Queens GOP historically held down parts of the northeast from the days of Frank Padavan –the blue and white collar mixed community of co-ops, one and two family homes, always had a viable GOP presence which gives some red candidates a fighting chance.

According to the latest filing, Saffran raised $40,907.99, nearly three times as much any of his Democratic opponents and topping out with $56,258, but he’s still not in first place. Austin Shaffran leads the pack with $101,797 followed by Paul Vallone and John Duane with just over $80,000 a piece. Former Halloran staffer Chrissy Voskerichian and urban lobbyist Paul Graziano are also running but lag behind in fundraising.

Still, his reporting should not go unnoticed. Touting the latest filing, Saffran stated that his gains are a sign of how people are fed up with politics as usual and are looking to his candidacy as the independent choice. “That our campaign has raised nearly three times as much as any of our opponents in the last three months shows the incredible momentum that this campaign has picked up in only a short time,  and is a testament to what the people of Northeast Queens want in an elected official: an independent, reform-minded leader who is not beholden to any lobbyists or special interests.”

Regardless of their reasons, Saffran will have to work hard to rebuild his name recognition if he wants to remain competitive in the general election. In the meantime, the campaign will take place in the backyard of the Queens GOP, which has to count for something –  especially considering they are spending a ton of cash energizing the base to come out for the Primary so hopefully they won’t forget by November when Saffran will need them.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/who-is-winning-the-money-race/

Jul 15 2013

Multiple Challenges Filed Against Queens Candidates

One of the more interesting points of NYC electoral law is the ability to challenge a candidate’s designating petitions, and this year no one is above suspicion.

Following an initial set of general objections, which you can view below, ‘specs’ must be filed for the next round of challenges which include a line by line audit for compliance using an ultra complicated list of requirements.

Objections are always strategic. With the low minimum requirement of signatures for Council candidates as required by law this year, it is more feasible to stop their name from appearing on the ballot than, say, for Mayor or Borough Prez due to the volume of signatures and the small window allotted to file such objections. This is why candidates typically collect 3-4 times the minimum required because in all reality, none of them are perfect. Wise candidates will let their electoral attorney loose (along with a few good interns) to knock the opposition off the ballot.

Check out the official ledger below. Click to enlarge. More to follow.


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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/07/challenges-filed-against-queens-candidates/

Jun 13 2013

Shafran Insults Local Leader, Shows Ignorance Of Critical District Issues


Ali Fadil discusses Austin Shafran’s sham candidacy for district 19.

We’ve been posting for quite some time about the sham candidacy of Austin Shafran, a candidate who has never been seen or heard from in District 19. For those of you who took it all with a grain of salt, things are finally getting real. We knew it was only a matter of time before community leaders like Ali Fadil would come forward. In his letter Fadil discusses an encounter with Austin Shafran regarding a critical district issue. Fadil was astonished with the lack of knowledge and dismissive attitude showed by the candidate, which is not surprising given his pedigree of tweeder jobs and absenteeism from community life.

Meanwhile, the New York Post exposed Shafran’s philandering, Queens-Politics highlighted his past as chief excuse maker for corrupt politicians and a dysfunctional government, and now the cat is out of the bag. These points are not really disputed by anyone in the district. Read his letter below:

Dear Editor,


I am Ali Fadil, a community organizer based in Northeast Queens and I am writing this letter to put my two cents in on how I feel about the Democratic primary race in the 19th council district, a Northeast Queens based district.

Austin Shafran is a candidate who I think feels that because of his connections; he can talk down to our community and not have to care about our community. I have experienced this from Shafran first hand when I approached him to discuss issues that face our express bus riders and made him aware of the various problems that we have with our express bus routes. The response that I received from Shafran was that transit priorities in the district should be focused on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) because LIRR stations have parking lots where people can park their cars; not considering that parking can be difficult at the LIRR stations in the district that have parking lots available such as Bayside or Broadway and there are other LIRR stations such as Auburndale that do not have parking available. This is not considering the fact that the LIRR only goes to Penn Station and does not offer free transfers to buses and Subways once in Manhattan and one has to pay for parking at some of the LIRR stations in our area in addition to an LIRR ticket. Express buses have the benefit of offering more direct service to areas in Manhattan and Queens when compared to the LIRR and are also cheaper and offer transfers to the Subway, and local and express buses. Residents of neighborhoods in the 19th council district such as College Point want direct express bus service. When I tried to explain to him that his stance towards transit in the district is not necessarily the best one for this district, Shafran immediately excused himself from the conversation that I was having with him. This shows how Shafran is out of touch with the residents of the 19th council district as he is unable to relate to the needs of this district. Other civic leaders have also stated that he is someone who also has not been seen in the community until his candidacy and as a member of the Jefferson Democratic Club in Northeast Queens, I have not seen him attend meetings until his candidacy for the 19th council district. 

manes shafran

What’s the connection?

Other candidates such as Paul Vallone have been very supportive to the needs of our community and our express bus riders. One of the issues with our express bus service that I have championed in the district is to get a Lower Manhattan express bus from Bayside, Whitestone, and North Flushing and Vallone has supported me on that issue from the very beginning and is very receptive to the needs of the community and the needs of this district’s express bus riders and unlike Shafran does not seem to be someone who would shaft his constituents as I have had his support on that issue before he declared his run for the City Council as a civic leader. Overall, I think that Vallone would be the best person to win the Democratic primary for the 19th council district because unlike candidates such as Shafran who feels that it is unnecessary to care about the community, Vallone is a civic leader who is in touch with our community and the needs of the community and would do his best to support the needs of our community and I feel that the Democratic Organization of Queens County made the right choice to endorse Vallone instead of Shafran (who was rumored to get County’s endorsement) for the 19th city council district Democratic Primary.

Ali Fadil,


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/austin-shafran-insults-local-leader-shows-ignorance-of-critical-district-issues/

Jun 11 2013

Candidate Jilts Wife For Younger Lover

09.1n009.Anchors2--300x300Diamonds are forever, but not for Austin Shafran.

Kudos to QueensCrap who had the best headline for this post. Also, if this guy touts family values at anytime on the campaign trail, be sure to remind him about his cheating heart.

From NY Post: Months after beautiful news anchor Molly Rokasy and Queens power broker Austin Shafran married, she claims, he left her for a state employee who’s steadily risen in the government ranks.

Shafran, a City Council candidate, fell in love with then-news assistant Rokasy after meeting her at a 2006 press conference. Three years later, he proposed to her with a 2.5-carat diamond ring.

Shafran, 33, vowed a lifetime of love to the gorgeous journalist, 30, now the news anchor at The Bronx and Brooklyn’s News 12.

The cable-TV anchorwoman and the politician married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Aug. 21, 2010, then headed to Times Square for romantic snapshots.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/candidate-jilts-wife-for-younger-lover/

May 01 2013

Shafran’s Finances Linked To Donald Manes


manes shafran

A chip off the ol’ block.

Generational Tweeding.

We’ve been blogging about the shady developments regarding the sudden appearance of life tweeder Austin Shafran trying to steal a council seat in a district he has never been seen or heard of (he’s also an elected District Leader outside the Council District, but that’s not the point). When we look at the numbers an interesting pattern emerges: a lifetime of tweed-like corruption and graft passed on from the previous generation vis-à-vis disgraced former Queensboro President Donald Manes.

Luckily, Queenscrap connected the dots and broke down the campaign finance report with some very interesting finds. Read the commentary below, click the links then ask yourself, is this the right man to dig our Council District out from the hole, or do we need another national embarrassment before we wake up?


Well, now we know how Austin Shafran got his job there [Empire State Development Corp]. The Shafrans have been hooked up since the days of Donald Manes. In fact, Austin’s campaign contribution list reads like Donald Manes’ rolodex.  Here are some of the contributors:


  • Lester Shafran (and wife Beth) – Uncle, ex-head of the PVB, found guilty in the scandal.
  • Sid Davidoff & Stephen Malito – Davidoff was Manes’ best friend and lawyer, pushed for the Grand Prix raceway and represented the USTA for their expansion in 1993. Davidoff and Malito are political fixers, bar none.
  • Then we have Sean Crowley working for Davidoff.  Another lobbyist involved in some not-too-civic friendly projects from another family that thrives only on nepotism.
  • Michael Nussbaum – Manes’ bagman in a bribery scandal – $250,000 to get a cable television franchise – who had his conviction reversed and now is in sole control of the Queens Tribune.

Here’s a summary of where some of Shafran’s current contributions come from (total = $58,802):
Political / Elected Officials /Candidates /Government $9,890 
Donald Manes Associates and Intermediaries $4,200
Lobbyists (they show up on the NYC Lobbyist search) $1,500
Unions $8,450
Real Estate / Developers / Construction $4,275
Lawyers $1,675
Employees of:
Epoch Times $1,850
Union Plaza Nursing Home $1,350
Parker Jewish Institute $800

This constitutes 58% of Shafran’s contributions.

Do you folks in eastern Queens want to return to the days of Donald Manes?


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/05/austin-shafrans-tweeding-linked-to-donald-manes/

Apr 18 2013

Shafran PRAISED Shady Senator


Shafran’s acute history of covering up possible criminal activity is mind-boggling.

Major discrepancy between a man’s words and his character.

While Austin Shafran continues his long-shot bid for the 19th CD, it’s important to note he went on record and PRAISED the character of his former boss, Senator Malcolm Smith who was busted just two weeks ago in a federal sting for corruption charges including election rigging.

“Senator Smith’s integrity, compassion, and respect for his office have never been questioned,” according to Shafran whom was quoted in an article which appeared in the New York Times in 2010 where members of Smith’s staff were linked to a suspicious nonprofit group in Queens under federal investigation.

But to Shafran, it was business as usual to try and sweep it all under the rug.

While serving as Smith’s spokesman, he released the foreboding statement defending the shady senator and his colleagues after federal prosecutors launched an investigation into New Direction Local Development Corporation, and another nonprofit related charity meant to provide aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

According to the Times, employees on Smith’s payroll were said to have played “major roles in the nonprofit group over several years, according to its tax filings and Web site, and two hold posts that suggest they are or were close to Senator Smith or are deeply involved in his political affairs.”

For the full story click here.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/shafran-praised-indicted-politicians/

Apr 02 2013

Shafran Worked For Senator Accused of Election Rigging


Shady work history for mystery candidate.

The 19th Council race just got real interesting.

Austin Shafran has a history of being the grand communicator of corrupt politicians in NYC. First he worked for a corrupt legislature and then for a corrupt Senator as his Press Secretary.

Yesterday, we wrote about Shafran’s role in excuse-making for the corrupt and dysfunctional legislature up in Albany, but what wasn’t discussed is that Shafran also worked as the goto political spinmaster for Senator Malcolm Smith – the same Senator that was arrested in a statewide FBI corruption probe that alleges he attempted to rig the Mayoral election through fraud and bribes early this morning.

If elected as City councilman, Shafran would be entrusted by the public with access to tax payer funds and legislative decision-making authority.




Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/shafran-represented-senator-accused-of-rigging-mayoral-election/

Apr 01 2013

Austin Shafran Is Full of Excuses


Austin Shafran was the official spokesman and defendant of the most dysfunctional legislative body in the United States, and he’s proud of it.

Cause everything wrong in government deserves a simpleton’s justification.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, American troops, tanks, and their guns of liberty crossed heaven and earth to prevent Sadaam Hussein’s use of nuclear weapons. As our troops rolled into the heart of Baghdad, Iraqi information officer Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf stood up, puffed his chest, and said on TV, “We are beating back the infidels… they are all crushed” as an American tank rolled through the background.

It’s worth a laugh. Around that time, The Brennan Center of Justice said it outright, “New York’s legislature is the most dysfunctional in the nation,” yet their findings haven’t stopped a few of it’s most prolific, even pugilistic defenders say to us: hey, everything is fine, and no, of course we Democrats aren’t corrupt, what a silly notion!

Like Muhammed Saeed al-Sagaf, Austin Shafran was the Democrat’s top information officer, and just like Muhammed, he used his platform to whitewash the facts with lie after lie in an attempt to exonerate democrats from any wrongdoing.

Shafran has made a career of trying to express to the world why every bit of misuse of taxpayer money, tax hikes, misuse of government resources and governmental inefficiencies were okay.

Excuse making was just a routine part of his job. This is the man who tried to tell us that the Dems in control of the Senate were not corrupt, inept, or dishonest. In fact, they were quite the opposite and it’s the Republicans fault. While Rome burned and a historic coup took place, Austin played his fiddle, pointed his fingers while high on the hog (he made a ton of cash doing this) and even worse, he proclaimed – just like Muhammed – don’t worry, we are beating back the infidels. Yea, right.

Meanwhile, the slow and steady debasement of public service in New York becomes more and more visible across the spectrum, characterized by: Brian McLoughlin, Hiram Monseratte, Malcolm Smith, Donald Manes, Gregory Meeks, Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, Elliot Spitzer, and Anthony Weiner, just to name a few. Yet while sin and corruption are not new, we have to take a look at where all of these corrupt pols got their start and then turn inward and ask how did these criminals get into office in the first place? Was it their swagger? Was it their sex appeal or charisma that won over voters? Maybe low turnout?

Despite penetrating the thin veil of scrutiny the local papers try and apply, New York still leads the nation with criminals in elected office, but its propaganda ministers like Austin Shafran who have used their persuasive rhetoric to deceive and misdirect the voter’s attention from a stark reality, and now this chronic excuse-maker is running for public office!

As voters of the 19th District begin to examine the candidates for Council, let’s look beyond sparkling appearances and into the facts. For starters, Queenscrap did a great job of exposing Austin Shafran’s sham website for Council which is totally misleading.

Shafran has had a corrosive impact in public policymaking and it could extend into the 19th if we aren’t more mindful of whom we vote for, especially if we allow him to sanitize his history with one alibi after another.

When the Brennan Center published its findings on the most dysfunctional state legislature — you know, the one that Austin represented — he was like Muhammed beating back the good government advocates as the “infidels” with his mis-truths that were so paper-thin and incredulous he might as well have held the press conference in front of his desk piled high with envelopes filled with our tax money.

It’s people like Austin Shafran that have created this crisis of public ethics and its way out of control. On this April Fools, let us remember this one thing: the biggest joke is Austin Shafran trying to make a fool out of us all.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/austin-shafran-full-of-it/

Mar 14 2013

Dem Endorsement of Shafran Could Hand Election To Halloran

Democratic Donkey

Shafran’s lack of any community service within CD19 notwithstanding, the only candidate with enough name recognition and campaign experience to beat him is Vallone.

The Barkan Report mentioned it this week that Paul Vallone and Austin Shafran are frontrunners for CD 19 and I agree, this is an absolute truth, but whispers in the air still hold that County will shy away from endorsing Paul Vallone. To do so will come with a little egg in the face.

If Shafran should face off with incumbent Dan Halloran in a general election, he’ll lose. Dan is too strong for Shafran, whom despite adequate fundraising, still needs to work on basic name recognition.

While it’s still a little too early to tell, one thing seems to go unnoticed: the organization will do what’s best for the organization and long-term planning cannot ignore the dismal prospect for democrats in a Shafran vs. Halloran general election.

Hopefully they won’t lose sight of this when it comes time to make their pick.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/03/dems-endorsement-of-shafran-could-hand-election-to-halloran/

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