Tag Archive: operative

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 19 2011

GOP Thug Uses Nasty Intimidation Tactics In Nassau County Race

GOP Henchman Vinny Prisco, alleged to be working on behalf of Nassau County incumbent John Ciotti makes his war face. If you see this man at your campaign, call the police.

What’s going on with our neighbors to the east?

In a stunning racist outburst, feral ‘volunteer’ GOP hatchman, Vinny Prisco, allegedly from the campaign of incumbent legislator John Ciotti, illustrates the need to cautiously screen your volunteer group. You just wouldn’t want this joker on your campaign. Find out why below.

As longstanding Nassau County legislator John Ciotti (D-Elmont) tries to distance himself from the racist and sexist shenanigans of his campaign workers, the sister of his opponent, Mickey Solages the victim of harassing taunts by a loose cannon that identifies as Republican, caught it all on tape.

Surprise! A lawsuit may be underway:

From WPIX:

The acts of Ciotti campaign worker Vinnie Prisco and another man referred to as Joe in the video of the men were severe enough to spur Mickey Solages to file a criminal complaint with police. The Nassau County Police Department has a precinct across the street from the campaign office where the confrontation that was captured on video took place a week ago Saturday.

While Ciotti works on damage control, I contacted the premier consulting firm in Long Island, the Pendulum Network to find out where the GOP campaign went wrong.

“The events in Nassau emphasize the need for candidates to vet their volunteer group. You have to reign in your core volunteers, you need to know who they are, they represent your campaign,” according to Michael Chapman co-founder of the Pendulum Network Political Consulting firm based in Long Island.

“I find that many campaigns have jumped the shark with regard to volunteer recruitment and engagement in that they take a one-sized fits all approach in order to save both time and money,” said Chapman.

So they are being lazy, Michael? “They’re so happy to have volunteers to help that they forget the most important thing…training them. They need to be properly educated on their tasks and the overall mission of the candidate and/or organization.

At its core it should be about building relationships, not destroying them,” according to Michael.

I am no stranger to GOP intimidation. During Assembly Member Ed Braunstein’s campaign – who has a fake twitter account in his likeness of over 400 followers –  I was attacked and verbally threatened by GOP goons.

There I was, bullhorn in hand, turning the tide of the election in Whitestone as two unidentifiable males with clip-on ties threatened to call the police on me for demonstrating my First Amendment Rights. They were axe men, cronies, thugs but I didn’t budge – even after they broke off my sideview mirrors, I got louder. Their insults were stuck in a sophomoric scatalogical aspersion. What a bubble head. It didn’t phase me, and they didn’t like that. Little did they know, I had the truculent edge over the competition. This was my neighborhood. In the end they managed to tear down my sign while blocking me with some guy that can only be described as a large grouse. I couldn’t stop them.

I really think Ciotti is nervous about losing to Carrie Solages. Maybe it’s the 2-to-1 Democrat advantage. It’s also a majority \ minority district and it’s the first time an African American candidate is running and the GOP is freaked out.

The Nassau County GOP has a history of nefarious activity like setting up roadblocks in black neighborhoods on the day of elections and openly tearing down campaign signs, according to insiders.

Dirty campaigning with racist undertones. Shame on you John Ciotti and your crony Vinny Prisco at the Nassau County GOP.

See Nasty GOP Henchmen Oct- 16

Vinny Prisco parks himself outside of Democratic opponent Carrie Solages campaign office in Elmont. Not pictured, the young girl who he was taunting with racist and sexist comments. "Don't worry, we will put them on the back of the bus where they belong," said Prisco on video tape. Yea Prisco, I hope they put you in the back of a paddy wagon.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/nasty-intimidation-tactics-in-nassau-county-race/

Oct 02 2011

Bloomie To Take Stand In Trial Of Campaign ‘Operative’

Sept 30th, The NYTimes blog announced that Mayor Bloomberg will take the stand in the trial of Queens campaign operative, John Haggerty.

Speculation had rolled around for weeks in the media if Bloomberg would possibly have to testify in court. Now with confirmation, pundits and commentators are expecting Haggerty’s lawyer,  former Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco,  to give Bloomberg a no-holds-barred examination on the stand.

John Haggerty is the brother to Bart Haggerty, City Council Member Eric Ulrich’s Chief of Staff, and a known associate of Tom Ognibene, a contender for the Queens GOP County Chairmanship. With another exhaustive court case in the woodwork, can the Haggerty\Ognibene alliance pull off a miracle, escape a prison sentence, and secure the Queens GOP Chairmanship at the same time? The results will alter what’s left of the Queens GOP political landscape with a dramatic power shift in either direction.

Many people outside of political circles find the case irrelevant and difficult to understand. While accusations are flying across the table, mainly Bloomberg “mishandling” campaign funds, Monday’s court case will surely make for some bold Post headlines. Stay tuned for my analysis afterwards.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/bloomie-to-take-stand-in-trial-of-campaign-operative/


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