Tag Archive: malfeasance

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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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/tom-ognibene/

Oct 11 2011

Meet The Most Corrupt Politician, possibly ever.

Queens Politics names ex-Assembly Member Brian McLaughlin, the reigning Champ as the most corrupt politician of the year, possibly the decade.

In an email, a reader asks who is the most corrupt local politician to ever be elected? That’s easy. Brian McLaughlin.  Find out what happened when Brian met Tony Seminerio in prison, the man be befriended by wearing a wire in exchange for leniency.

It’s eight more years in a federal penitentiary for disgraced ex-Assembly Member Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing), whose name is a euphemism for corruption, looting, payoffs and bribery in Queens political circles – and was known to bed high-profile elected officials and campaign operatives.

McLaughlin, who was a former labor leader and seven term legislator is generally perceived as lower than wife-beater Hiram Monseratte, and definitely lower than elected officials who allegedly don’t reside in the districts they represent. Find out why.

That’s some intro! What does one have to do to win the Queens Politics 2011 Malfeasance award? Become the biggest crook  in the history of local politics.

While Brian McLaughlin has been rotting away in Butner Federal prison for the past two years (8 more to go), his memory lives on in the annals of Queens Political history. This is the kind of guy that would steal your wallet then help you look for it.

Who did Brian McLaughlin STEAL From? The real question is whom didn’t Brian steal from?

Brian’s rap sheet is filed in over a dozen volumes but he is most remembered for his theft and embezzlement of  $3.1 million from a Queens Little League including shaking down Local 3 Electricians, and Petrucelli Corp. engineers.

The judge said his crime spree was “mind boggling.”

Brian lived a life of luxury by exploiting children and non-profit organizations.

His catalog of wrongs to the court took a stomach wrenching 45 minutes to complete. With stolen funds, Brian bought his mistress an imported car, and even forced union members to kill rats in his basement, dog sit and hang Christmas lights without pay. See the News Buster article which claims the NYT ‘whitewashed’ the story and left out the “juicy details.”

Brian was a local guy trusted with the public interest and ended up only serving himself and his family.

Betraying Tony Seminerio

What most people didn’t know was who Brian was as a person. According to inside sources, Brian, also an ex-labor leader, was known to speak in a fake Irish brogue to help him fit in with union workers. What a tool! In a story that I will always remember, Brian –who was subsequently outcast by his colleagues after his indictment – betrayed the one guy that tried to be his friend. That friend was ex-Democratic Assembly Member Tony Seminerio.

Seminerio was no angel, but in a gesture of goodwill reached out to his embattled colleague, Brian – the only politico to do so. How did Brian repay Seminerio’s generosity?

Brian cooperated with the authorities by building a relationship of trust with him and ultimately  wearing the wire that got Seminerio indicted. And he did it all with a smile.

What was going through his head? Brian thought he would walk for his cooperation by giving up Seminerio, the one guy that tried to reach out to him, but much to his dismay, my inside sources say Brian was shocked when he was sentenced to 10 years. “But I cooperated!” I’m sure that’s what he thought. Turns out for his cooperation in the investigation of Anthony Seminerio, who was sentenced to 6 years in a million dollar influence-peddling scheme , Brian was spared 5 years off of his sentence.

When Brian and Tony were sentenced, they were both assigned to the Butner Federal Correction Complex. While going to lunch for the first time in prison, Brian ran into Tony – the first time since he sung like a canary in the court room. Tony and Brian, both former teflon dons looked at each other straight in the eye.

Brian almost didn’t recognize Tony in his new digs. There he was in an off-yellow jumpsuit  eating a prison special; bologne in hand. As the story goes, Brian looked up, dropped his lunch tray to the ground, turned tail and ran away as fast as possible. The guards were laughing. This would be the last time they would ever be in the same room together.  Tony died in 2011.

I never met Brian. But I vaguely knew of his son from the neighborhood who was arrested in a prescription drug-selling ring last year. Furthermore Brian helped start the William Jefferson Clinton Democratic Club which he siphoned money  from. Thankfully we have  gotten as far away as possible from Brian’s legacy of malfeasance.

Did McLaughlin pay any of it back?

In August 2011, Celeste Katz reported that Brian has surrendered his $80,000 Mercedes and sold his $652,000 home in Long Island to help pay off the debt.

He was supposed to cough up the $783,000 remaining in his campaign account, and in March 2010 McLaughlin delivered a $457,253 check to prosecutors with the expenditure marked “preliminary order of forfeiture.”

Yet he still has more than $285,000 in the campaign war chest – sitting in a tax-free bond account earning interest, campaign records filed last month show.

McLaughlin’s lawyer, Michael Armstrong, said the ex-assemblyman “has turned over all his forfeited assets to the government and he is not standing in the way of anybody receiving payment.”

According to the Post Brian’s mom, 84, is also a victim of his corrupt deals,

Crooked ex-politician Brian McLaughlin’s mom has added her name to the list of victims in his epic, $3.1 million rip-off scheme.

Court papers filed by Ilene McLaughlin, 82, say she lost $145,000 that the former Queens assemblyman borrowed against his swanky second home on Long Island’s exclusive North Shore.

The widowed granny, who lives in a modest co-op apartment in Flushing, says in her self-filed court documents that she handed over the dough in March 2006 but never got a nickel back.

For his crimes against the neighborhood, Brian McLaughlin is awarded the 2011 Most Crooked Politician Award.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/future-elects-beware/


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