Tag Archive: Bart Haggerty

Sep 28 2013

Phil Ragusa Emerges Victor At Queens GOP Reorg Meeting

Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa

Newly reelected Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa

Tensions flared yesterday afternoon as the Queens GOP called a meeting to elect leadership at the Reception House in Flushing.

Results were predictable. Contested Chairman Phil Ragusa won re-election with 417 votes to 174 against former Rep. Bob Turner, who was backed by Bart Haggerty and the Southern faction, and will maintain his leadership post within the Queens Republican Party, according to unofficial reports.

Republicans from both North and South Queens alliances were present at the meeting.

“The weighted vote was I think 10 points apart. Lots of proxies were disqualified so that should make for fun in court,” said a source familiar with the results.

The controversial meeting was set for 12:30PM on a Friday drawing the ire of many disenfranchised republicans who cried foul at the workday scheduled meeting claiming party officials with jobs would be unable to attend.

Events leading up to the reorganization meeting were also disputed in the press. Immediately preceding Friday’s meeting, south Queens loyalists, and supposed Party reformers, cried foul to the press over a last-minute decision to schedule the meeting not only on a workday but during a Jewish holiday.

“The source said some of the notices were mailed out during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and Jewish GOP committee members did not receive the notices and will not be able to make the meeting. Others, the source said, will not able to take off from work on short notice”, according to an article published Thursday evening in the Queens Chronicle.

Earlier this month, newly re-elected Chairman Ragusa also won his re-election as District Leader against local businessman Sal Bacarella in a highly watched race. Both victories appear to reaffirm Ragusa’s control over the party.

Will this put an end to the thirty year hostilities between northern and southern Queens Republicans? Only time will tell.

As more details emerge, check back with Queens-Politics for the latest updates.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/ragusa-hold-on-to-party-chair-fends-off-turner/

Jun 28 2013

Did The BOE Fire Her Because She’s Black?

Rolaine Antoine

Rolaine Antoine, a former BOE employee explains why our electoral process is always in a state of jeopardy.

An Ulrich loyalist demanded a BOE employee to give up her office chair and forced her in the corner, right before she was terminated.

For far too long we’ve heard stories about the bungled mismanagement over at the Board of Elections, but no one has ever written about specific instances which embody the status quo. It’s common knowledge that the entire building is a refuge for nepotism and political favors. And like most organizations, public or private, it’s subject to office politics; the only difference at the BOE is that these are the people whom are entrusted by the people of New York to oversee the entire electoral process.

But there are victims, countless victims that are in fact professionals, executives, people who bring leadership and experience to the table that are often the first to be fired with politically trumped up charges only to be replaced by those less qualified. Rolaine Antoine was one such person. Please take note that it’s such cut-throat politics and paybacks which gets in the way of real work – but not just any work- the sacred duty of carrying out the democratic process. This is one of those stories.

On Wednesday Rolaine Antoine, mother of two, went to work at the BOE, just as usual. She was prompt, on time and ready to work – the same way she has been for the past two years. Colleagues said she’s intelligent, resourceful, respectful, but above all else a pleasure to work with. During her tenure she was never written up for any reason, never complained or made an out of place comment. She’s the kind of employee many supervisors dream about having. As a former Wall Street executive, Rolaine had the experience and knowledge of logistics, office management, and operations to carry out the work of the BOE – and by all accounts she did her job well, that is until they didn’t need her anymore, her refusal to sign a petition just two months ago which circulated the Board asking Phil Ragusa to step down as Chairman may have been her undoing.

Regardless of the political consequences, Rolaine refused to yield, she thought it would be best to let the voters decide, and then she was terminated.

As a civic minded citizen from Queens Village, Rolaine quickly became a local leader. If there was a problem in the neighborhood she would get to work on solving it. Her accolades led to her election as a Republican District Leader, recognition for her activism on behalf of civic organizations. “I wanted to help people vote and it gave me a great feeling knowing that working at the BOE was an extension of that”. Rolaine couldn’t have been happier. She had the opportunity to enlighten new immigrants and members of a community as to how to become active and responsive to issues that pertain to where they lived. Working at the BOE gave her great satisfaction, that is, until Wednesday morning.


Letter of termination.

On Wednesday morning, Rolaine’s supervisor Alba Martinez, who was running the absentee department approached her desk. “I needed to report to the Deputy Chief Clerk to return the chair.” Which chair? Asked Rolaine.  Martinez replied, “the one you are sitting in”.  Rolaine was confused, well where do you want me to sit? Martinez pointed to a broken chair and said “all chairs belong to the BOE”. “Why does she want my chair?”  Martinez said she didn’t know, “I am just the messenger bringing you the message.”

Rolaine was beside herself. “Well since you’re the messenger, tell her [Deputy Chief Clerk Gisela Mengler] I will not give up my chair and if she wants it, she’ll have to come down and get it.” Martinez stormed out of the office. About an hour later, Scott Jordan and Gisela Mengler, the Deputy Chief Clerk,  instructed Rolaine that she had to give up her seat, that she had to give it up for someone else that needed it, meanwhile she was the only one that was asked. Rolaine was a little confused, she had the chair since she began working at the Board of Elections, and in the meantime all of the employees had seen new chairs being delivered – there was even a new chair wrapped in plastic in the Deputy Chief’s office. So why should she have to give up hers? After all it was where Rolaine did the work she was paid to do and there were plenty more available. It all seemed so trivial. Racial flashbacks had been stoked. How often is it that a hardworking African-American female is told to give up her seat and go to the backroom?   While they towered above her desk, Rolaine looked up at them and asked to speak to Commissioner Michel – she wanted Michel to tell her she had to give up her chair and then and only then she would comply. Unfortunately he couldn’t be reached in time. Shortly afterward, Scott Jordan and Robert Pataky presented her with a letter of termination. “The reason for your termination is due to insubordination and racial accusation,” it read. Rolaine was devastated. What racial accusation? She had only asked if her firing had anything to do with being an African-American, which at the time appeared to be a reasonable question given the circumstances, and especially since Michel’s appointment, there has been discrimination against most of the minorities, who have been severely disciplined or let go, she said.

When Michael Michel came in, he came with a voracious axe and basically terminated people who were associated or deemed to be loyal with the County organization. Rolaine was the last of the Mohicans. But she couldn’t just be terminated, she had an excellent record, never been written up, always on time, well-liked by colleagues and poll workers. The musical chair scenario turned out to be an elaborate ruse to terminate her.

A culture of fear.

What the voters need, they are not getting because all of this is going on she explained, “we are failing the voters. When they complain, they are right,” referencing the slowdowns, technical malfunctions, and logistical mishaps which plague every election administered by the BOE.

“Everyone is working out of fear…and you can’t run an office with employees that are working out of fear… it’s getting worse and worse because people fail to speak up.”

Rolaine was talking about the blatant good ol’ boys club the BOE has morphed into. According to Rolaine, Councilman Eric Ulrich put his key people onboard right down to the poll workers. He even had Bart Haggerty, whose brother embezzeled millions from Mayor Bloomberg, now a BOE employee as a lead trainer in charge of instructing the very people that will be training all of the poll workers. All of this happened right after the new commisssioner, Michael Michel, was placed into power following a paper mishap. And when he came in, he was ready to fire anyone that was loyal to the County organization. Rolaine said these new people that were handpicked will report directly to Ulrich and company with no problem, hence their hiring.

In all fairness there’s something odd about a partisan political hack hired to oversee a “fair election.” A conflict of interest? While she never had a conversation with Ulrich, the writing was on the wall. “Ulrich is running the show,” she said.

Just two months ago, Councilman Ulrich came into the office to meet with Gisela Mengler, to ask her to stay on board and postpone her retirement. They needed her, after terminating Deputy Chief Clerk Marie Lynch and until they placed an Ulrich pal in the seat. Rumor had it she agreed. Now Gisela isn’t well-liked at the Board, she was rude and contrite but that didn’t matter, she was politically connected. Rolaine was not exempt from the hostile work environment Gisela had created for her and to make matters worse, the woman she was about to fire was the one who had written letters in response to voter complaints which Gisela was responsible for writing and who also prepared reports that were too complex for Gisela to produce!

In the aftermath, Rolaine reached out to her Union President Gwendolyn Youngblood, a labor attorney as well as the media, and she’s not going to stop there. Rolaine Atoine is a hero, a hero to everyone that had been fired for trumped up political reasons. Her termination is the reason why the Board of Elections is dysfunctional, why our democracy is constantly in jeopardy and why our electoral process is the laughingstock of the nation.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/did-the-board-or-elections-fire-her-because-shes-black-rolaine-antoine/

Aug 10 2012

Estrada to Haggerty: You are destructive to the growth of the Hispanic and African American Community!

"Haggerty to Myrna Littlewort who are against the leadership of the Queens County GOP have become destructive to the growth of the Hispanic and African American Community in the 35th Assembly District," says Ruben Estrada.

A searing open letter from Ruben Estrada to the Haggerty brothers.

“Hispanics need not apply”

Motto of the Haggerty Brothers (John and Bart Haggerty)

Today I write to inform the public of the most intolerable discriminatory actions perpetuated on viable, respectable and honorable American Hispanic Republican candidate in Queens County.  Allow me to introduce myself and that which I represent and moreover the major national Republican Party initiative developed, and being implemented with the interest of reaching out to the Hispanic community.

I am writing this personally as a lifelong Republican Party builder, and in my capacity as the area coordinator of the Future Majority Project “FMP” who identified and supported Eric M.  Mingott, Candidate for the NYS Assembly 35th Assembly District, a decision of which I applaud.

The Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) Future Majority Project has a goal of growing the Republican family in three areas: Americans of Hispanic descent, women and young voters. Specific to this campaign, the goal is to identify 100 new state level candidates of Hispanic descent and provide advice, resources and support to help elect at least 30 diverse candidates in the 2012 election cycle.

As the designated coordinator of FMP, our efforts in New York have been aggressive and positive.  My involvement as coordinator allowed me to assist in identifying true viable and electable Republican state level candidates of Hispanic descent within New York.

Our objectives include: recruit at least 100 new Hispanic legislative candidates across the country, increase the number of female Republican legislative candidates and partner with the College Republican National Committee for a national youth training and mobilization program.

As a lifelong American Republican of Puerto Rican heritage born and raised in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem), Republican Party Builder and Chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition of New York, I have been recognized by the Republican National Committee as a Republican Hispanic leader in the United States, Member of the RNC Hispanic Steering Committee and the most active Hispanic Republican advocating for Hispanic inclusion nationally and particularly in New York State.

Most recently I have had the pleasure of meeting, and recommending for support to the FMP the candidacy to New York State Assembly in the 35 Assembly District of Queens, NY a very impressive and committed Hispanic Candidate with true Republican values (a young man with the ability to be the voice of equality and opportunities in his community) Mr. Eric M. Mingott.

I must commend Eric M. Mingott with the honorable attempt he had made in securing a place on the ballot for NYS Assembly in the 35th A.D.  Eric M. Mingott had recently resigned from his position with the Internal Revenue Service in order to help improve his community and create employment opportunities in the 35th A.D.  He is currently working on sponsoring three legislative bills that would create local manufacturing jobs and attract investors to the 35th Assembly District in order to support small business and improve the overall quality of life in neighborhoods such as East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights and Rego Park.

Yet, I find it very difficult to accept that the self-interest negative bigoted entities known as the “Hispanics need not apply” Haggerty brothers (John and Bart Haggerty) within the Queens Republican party for negatively influencing the outcome of the nomination and designation of Mr. Mingott’s candidacy.  John Haggerty along with Myrna Littlewort and Gigi Salvadore (all registered Republicans) has proven once again that their self-interest and selfishness comes before the best interest of our community and party (Republican Party).  Once again the actions of rebel groups, such as those, from John

Haggerty to Myrna Littlewort who are against the leadership of the Queens County GOP have become destructive to the growth of the Hispanic and African American Community in the 35th Assembly District.

With that said, and although the decision was made, one which must have been difficult for the Board of Elections; I must state that the negative influences internally and externally within the Republican party of those such as John Haggerty and Bart Haggerty (employees, supporters, friends, and colleagues of New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich); and the ever so trivial personal and territorial egos of Myrna Littlewort and Gigi Salvador has caused the results of the disqualifying the nomination and designation of the only candidate seeking ballot, a Hispanic Republican in the 35th Assembly District, Eric M. Mingott.

Notwithstanding, the irony of the efforts by the Haggerty brothers and their allies, understand that it was void of an opposing candidate seeking the nomination and designation to the 35 AD, Queens County. Objections and opposition to the candidacy of Eric M. Mingott is merely one of hate opposition of Hispanic inclusion and outright bigoted.  The actions by the Haggerty brothers bring a negative effect on those Hispanic potential candidates may they be just contemplating a run for public office or well supported viable Republican Hispanic’s.  This resonates negatively to our well respected national and statewide initiative of increasing Hispanic Republican representation.

Republicans in Queens County should be ashamed of the Haggerty brothers, the law and/or judge who have allowed them to continue their destructive involvement in politics, perpetuate their obvious bigotry, and permit a known convicted criminal and their allies to set policy.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/08/estrada-to-haggerty-you-are-destructive-to-the-growth-of-the-hispanic-and-african-american-community/

May 30 2012

Update on the Queens GOP

There has been a lot of gossip regarding a supposed FBI probe into the Queens GOP, but our research indicates this is false; there is NO FBI investigation.

Where did the lie begin? It is rumored that renegade Councilman Eric Ulrich personally corroborated with three sources to relay the same fictional story to the press.

The intent was to harm the Party. Ulrich has long bred insurrection in the Queens GOP and some people even call him a Democrat incognito. Longstanding supporters feel that his submission to Christine Quinn has compromised his Republican ideology.

Meet the axemen. The president of the Northeast Queens Republican Club, John Watch, is alleged to be the chief facilitator in spreading the groundless rumors through dishonesty and fabrication of lies. He seems personally angry with the GOP for endorsing Juan Reyes over Eric Ulrich.

John Watch uses his Facebook page to spread the agenda of GOP stalwarts, Tom Ognibene, Bart and John Haggerty, and Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Watch is openly supportive of John Haggerty, a convicted felon best known for stealing money from Mayor Bloomberg.

Haggerty’s brother, Bart Haggerty is the Chief of Staff for Councilman Ulrich. Both are regulars at the N.E Queens Republican Club.

In the meantime the Queens GOP has been quietly rebuilding with new blood and fresh ideas. As an organization they are doing quite well, despite the bogus headlines.

More on this to follow


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/05/update-on-the-queens-gop-reyes-ulrich-beef/

Feb 28 2012

Dare To Be Rich!

All I want for Christmas is a John Haggerty coffee mug.

A reader passed along a very interesting website that sells t-shirts, totebags, Iphone cases and other knick-knacks emblazoned with “Free John Haggerty,” the man who stole millions from Mayor Bloomberg and engineered the destruction of the Queens GOP.

According to CafePress.com, different designers are able to upload their own images. Unfortunately, they do not release any information as to who uploaded the images or how much of a markup the designer will be taking.

Who’s going to get rich? In lieu of any previous agreement, 10% of the sale price goes toward the designer.

Get  them while they’re hot, or not.


When cleaning yourself, think of John Haggerty.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/02/dare-to-be-rich/

Feb 12 2012

A Chief of Staff Loses His Appeal

Photo From NYPOST

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa vindicated in the court room after the Chief of Staff for Eric Ulrich, Bart Haggerty loses his appeal.

Courts squash Ognibene rebels.

A court decision lifts any lingering doubt to the authority of Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa.

Last October, former. Councilman Tom Ognibene and Bart Haggerty, the Chief of Staff for Councilman Eric Ulrich had filed a petition in NY State Supreme Court to invalidate the Republican County Chairman Certificate, which authorized Phil Ragusa as the legitimate Chairman pursuant to election law.

The case was dismissed on procedural aspects because it was untimely. Simply stated, the case was not filed in time. But that wasn’t enough to squash the party’s infighting.

In response to the lower court’s ruling, Bart Haggerty filed an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court that was subsequently struck down on February 7th 2012.

In the Matter of Bart J. Haggerty, appellant, v Queens County Republican Committee, et al., respondents-respondents, et al., respondent.

The petitioner failed to comply with the service provisions of the order to show cause dated October 7, 2011, as modified by a Justice of this Court on October 8, 2011, particularly with respect to the time by which service upon the respondents was to be effectuated. Accordingly, since strict compliance with the service provisions of the order to show cause is jurisdictional in nature, the proceeding was properly dismissed as untimely

The higher court affirmed the Judge’s decision, saying in essence, no way Bart, the lower Judge is correct.

The Chairmanship of Phil Ragusa for the Queens County Republican Party has ultimately been vindicated and lifted above suspicion, for now.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/02/a-chief-of-staff-loses-his-appeal/

Jan 16 2012

Ulrich Orders Ingrate Special At Russo’s


Ulrich hurls accusations while members of his inner circle are of questionable integrity.

Like rubbing salt in the old wound.

After the Judge ruled Phil Ragusa as the Chairman plenipotentiary of the Queens GOP, City Councilman Ulrich, who received political help from the GOP during his campaign, gives an old fashion public backstabbing to Robert Hornak and Vince Tabone.

Queens-Politics is outraged. How do people in glass houses throw stones?

Bart Haggerty is Eric’s Chief of staff and rumored to have constructed a special bell tower  for himself in the mansion that John Haggerty – his brother who stole from the Mayor –  in Forest Hills, sort of  like Quasimodo.

Even though Mr. Modo has never been indicted, we are concerned about the involvement he may have had in the 28th A.D Housekeeping account – a one in a kind slush fund that could have been used to pay John Haggertys legal bills, or for an extravagant home in Forest Hills.

Haggerty’s dirty fingerprints are everywhere.

The account was formed as a PAC that  operated out of John’s home, according to a report in the Post. However, full financial disclosure has not been released to the public and seems to be a well-guarded secret.

Some questions remain. How do we know where the money was spent?

Could John have promised the Mayor to oust Phil Ragusa as part of the negotiation?

At least there is full disclosure of the northeast Queens GOP account.

Meanwhile, insiders want to know what are the Haggertys hiding? Is there a cover up perpetrated by the insurgent faction of the GOP?

And this is part of a bigger problem: Where is the unity? Why won’t Ulrich and company sit down at the table of brotherhood instead of driving a wedge into the struggling party?

Democrats are thrilled about the GOP power struggle and are waiting to pick up the shattered pieces.

Please note, a felon is still the treasurer of the housekeeping fund.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/01/ulrich-orders-ingrate-special-at-russos/

Dec 20 2011

Miscarriage Of Justice: Golem Sentenced To Brief Prison Term

I'll be back, said John Haggerty. My lawyers will be appealing the verdict on the grounds that becoming the laughingstock is restitution for the crimes I've committed.

Infamous political operative John Haggerty, who stole 750,000 from Mayor Bloomberg and used it to buy a lavish house in Forest Hills was sentenced yesterday to 3-4 years of hard time following his conviction on second-degree grand larceny and second-degree money laundering charges.

During the trial, Haggerty’s lawyers portrayed him as an ‘honorable’ and  ‘well-respected man’ who had made a severe error, according to the New York Times. Obviously they never met him, although going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

Get this, Judge Zweibel believed John’s prison conviction would restore faith in the political system. Meanwhile, it did not. Over 40 well-wishers – presumably all the Republicans in South Queens wrote letters on John’s behalf to the Judge vouching for his character and pleading for leniency.

So much for Justice.


New York Times: Addressing the court, Mr. Haggerty, who is divorced and has no children, admitted that the positive reputation he had cultivated throughout his long career in the inner circles of New York politics had been destroyed by his crime.

“I can only do what is right in the future,” he said.

Justice Zweibel ordered Mr. Haggerty to pay restitution of $750,000, the amount he was convicted of stealing from Mr. Bloomberg by tricking his campaign aides into donating to the state’s Independence Party in 2009. Mr. Haggerty had promised to use the money to set up an Election Day voting-security operation, but instead used the money to buy a house, prosecutors said.

Mr. Haggerty was taken from the courtroom to begin serving his sentence immediately.

His lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/miscarriage-of-justice/

Nov 16 2011

Battleground: Forest Hills

"Eric told me to do it," says Congressman Bob Turner who looks pleased while Bart Harggety and Phil Ragusa fight for the credit for anointing him. GOP State Chairman Ed Cox stares down in disgust.

Forest Hills may be the new epicenter of Republican party politics.

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa chartered a new political club in a location that a south Queens Republican operative isn’t too chipper about it.

The new American Eagle Republican Club hosted its first meeting Tuesday night at the Forest Hills Jewish Center

“After the [Bob] Turner victory, Forest Hills jumped to the top of the list,” said Robert Hornak, a spokesman for the Queens GOP in an interview with the Daily News.

Forest Hills is interesting. It is long known to be the forward operating base of the rival Haggerty clan who bear an ancient grudge against Chairman Phil Ragusa and associates.

Ragusa is hoping to keep the momentum going that energized voters for Congressman Bob Turner’s big win in the 9th District.

While the 19th and 20th Council Districts are held by two Republicans, Dan Halloran and Peter Koo, the local political clubs are small in number and are often a heaven’s waiting room of senior citizens jockeying for a free cup of coffee and stale Entenmann’s crumb cake.  So why would there be a move to Forest Hills, especially at a time when GOP political muscle in northeast Queens has atrophied?

At Queens-Politics we believe it’s throwing a little salt in the ol’ wound.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich and his Chief of Staff, Bart Haggerty (also a District Leader)  attempted to usurp the leadership at the Queens GOP by electing Thomas Ognibene as Chairman. What people may overlook is that these are the same operatives that groomed Bob Turner from start to finish (legend has it they found him playing Canasta at a senior club).

Councilman Ulrich bestows pearls of wisdom upon Bob Turner who was quoted as calling him his “26 year old mentor.”

Insiders say Phil Ragusa tried to steal credit even boasting about it on the party website. Now, Ragusa has started a political club in what some call the territory of the south Queens GOP – whom are not recognized by State GOP Party Chairman Ed Cox or the courts.

Instead of concentrating outreach efforts in northeast Queens (a region long known for convoluted party politics) where it’s needed,  Ragusa is moving the big show into Forest Hills where he believes he may have better luck recruiting a viable political club.

Rival Bart Haggerty is not welcoming the newcomers. He says Forest Hills already has a clubhouse, the Forest Park Republican Club and that Ragusa’s front man, Juan Reyes, a Forest Hills-raised lawyer has been missing in community action for ten years.

Robert Hornak told me in a prior interview that Ragusa has championed outreach efforts for new immigrant communities that tend to lean conservative on social issues.

While this is  true, the location of Forest Hills is sure to be a thorn in the side to the radical triumvirate, the Haggerty-Ulrich-Ognibene faction of the Queens GOP.

It is likely a sign of more tensions to come.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/11/battleground-forest-hills/

Oct 27 2011

Oh No, The South Queens Insurgency Is Sinking Fast!

Credit Juniper Park Patriots Photo

Original or fried?

It will take years for the Queens GOP to recover from the recklessness of Machiavellian schemer of the year, Tom Ognibene and his gang of cohorts.

As you know, John Haggerty was sentenced to prison for stealing from Mayor Bloomberg, but readers want to know, is he in cahoots with his brother Bart, infamous political operative, and Chief of Staff to City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway)?

Could it be the same guy trying to steal the Queens GOP chairmanship?


Yes he is. The money John siphoned from the Mayor’s campaign war chest was used as a payoff to his brother Bart Haggerty for a fancy house on a hill where they presumably ate the fruit from the poisoned tree.

What does this mean for the Queens GOP power debacle?

Former GOP Chairman Serphin Maltese, last of the Romans, kept the Haggerty’s on a leash by keeping them hungry and feeding them tiny morsels like dogs under the kitchen table. Little did Serph know he was inadvertently feeding  their malevolent lust for power.

I had a mental picture of the courtroom. Who would stand on the Ognibene side? A few nobody’s and a pesky critter known as Eric Ulrich? Yep, according to reports, that’s all that showed up.

It was like a scene from the OK Corral, but much more like the last stand of Colonel Sanders.

Birds of a feather…

Ognibene is no stranger to controversy, he was once named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an unrelated case involving bribery. While the final decision to end the civil war is still pending, in the criminal trial of John Haggerty bail was set at $250,000 because Judge Zweibel heard that John may have an Irish passport that he could have used to skip town. It may not be true, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

Mayor gets screwed, but it’s really a drop in the bucket for him. Still doesn’t justify theft. So would Mayor Bloomberg hire one of the Haggertys, again? Doubtful. Bloomberg is almost term-limited out of office, so they won’t be needed. Will we ever see the likes of the Haggertys influencing the underworld of Queens politics? No, but we will still see Tom Ognibene’s sometimes arch-rival, Bart Haggerty pulling the strings of marionette councilmember Eric Ulrich, the warlord of South Queens.

Queens GOP spokesman Robert Hornak whom in a previous interview, predicted the outcome of the trial and lends his foresight on the chairmanship struggle.

“I think this is their last hurrah, John Haggerty will be in a state-house [prison] and Tom Ognibene… he’ll find something else to do.”

He also summed up the tenure of Ulrich as the Benedict Arnold Council Member who turned his back on the party that helped get him elected in 2009.

Eric is somewhat immature and short-sighted for an elected official. It’s probably to feed his ego and personal aspirations.” 

It’s just too bad they couldn’t work things out with Chairman Phil. They really believed Ragusa was a sitting duck, according to an inside source. This squabbling is nothing new. Bart Haggerty filed the same suit challenging Ragusa in 2005, and 2007. In 2009 they played nice to win the Council seat for Eric in Howard Beach, District 32. Friends today. Enemies tomorrow. No consistency. They never trusted any of the real Queens GOP from the north.

They didn’t even trust each other. Ognibene strung Bart along, while Bart thought he strung Ognibene along. They both hated Ragusa.

Ognibene and company used to toy around with disgraced GOP City Council Member Dennis Gallagher who was arrested for raping a grandmother above his campaign office, presumably on the same desk where Ulrich ate his lunch. The charges were later dropped after Dennis pled guilty to misdemeanor sex charges for assaulting the elderly woman. Democrat Liz Crowley now holds the seat.

Political Parties Pool Their Resources

I saw Dennis Gallagher while working a poll site in Flushing for John Liu and Yen Chou. Dennis was setting up sandwich boards for now Council Member Peter Koo (R-20). He shot me a cockeyed look when I noticed he went beyond the point of electioneering setting up Peter Koo’s sandwich boards with big bold red lettering on the side that read “Property of Mike Ricatta.”  In 2008 Mike hired a giant campaign bus with “Mike Ricatto Special Election 32nd City Council District” emblazoned on the side to drive up and down Cross Bay Blvd. The bus hit and killed an innocent kid. My heart goes out to that little boy.

Ognibene never liked me and I never liked him. He took issue with my graduate degree in American Government, which Eric had not finished, my board  membership in a very liberal democratic club, and he got wind of the fact  that I tutored Eric in Graduate School in American Government. Ognibene from the start was always breathing down my neck and making me feel very uncomfortable. You could cut the tension with a knife. I had to get out of there quickly. I resigned partly because I felt Ognibene wanted to run his own campaign through Eric, and a better opportunity had arose for me elsewhere with more level headed folk. Ognibene had prior plans to install Bart as Eric’s Chief of Staff – after all the work was complete – so there was no room for me anyway. I left a few weeks before the general election and helped John Liu become Comptroller of the City of New York.

Chairman Phil was almost unanimously elected at the Flushing Reception House.

The only exception was bootlicking former State Assembly Candidate and GOP District Leader Anthony Nunziato, who is scared to death of Tom Ognibene and who once tried to stick me with the bill for his $45 T-bone and Ceasar salad at Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse in Bayside. He showed up to Ragusas meeting and voted Ognibene. No surprise there.

Why so much struggle over a Chairmanship? Azi Paybarah explains in Capital New York:

“Here’s the thing: The person who takes control of the party now will be at the helm as the city enters the 2013 election cycle, where the mayor’s seat and nearly every other city office will be up for grabs. 

Candidates who have the resources to do so will presumably sprinkle lots of money around to organizations and clubs as they seek to form new bonds and underwrite campaign activities. A chairman’s organization is one good place to spend money.

The chairman of a county organization also has a powerful role to play in granting a waiver to allow non-party members to run on their ballot, granting what’s known as a Wilson-Pakula. So, being chairman does have its perks.”

Bart and Ognibene are two different people with divergent agendas. They don’t seem to match up -although they are united by their passion for cracking off color  jokes. I’ll never forget that one. You laughed. You’re all guilty of xenophobia. There’s something to be said about that. Ulrich hired, or had to hire, Tom Ognibene’s son, Guy Ognibene as Legislative Director. So the proof is in the pudding. Nepotism.

It took the prospect of unseating Phil to settle their rocky relationship and bring the ol’ South Queens gang back together.

If everyone played nice than maybe we would have a solid Republican voice in Queens. Stealing is very bad guys, but not all is lost. The GOP have a fresh hope on the northside, so it’s a step in the right direction for the party. I’m not going to sing Chairman Phil’s praises but he’s clearly better choice for the future. Without them, the Democratic machine would run unopposed!

Cheers to Tom Ognibene, the soon to be the exiled pariah of the Queens GOP. Maybe he’ll open a chicken stand? I don’t know, email me about it info@queens-politics.com.


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