Tag Archive: Robert Hornak

Oct 10 2013

Convicted Felon Serves On Bob Turner’s Legal Team

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According to eyewitnesses, when they came into court and saw Haggerty sitting next to Tom Ognibene, they thought he was on trial. Instead it was Haggerty trying to take over the Queens Republican Party (something he’s failed to do for the past 12 years) positioned on the plaintiffs side, a side he is not accustom to being in. Photo: John Haggerty awaits his sentencing. Photo from the NYPOST.

In the history of corrupt political practices…

A few weeks after the disastrous hate-filled republican reorganization meeting, just when you thought things could get no more bizarre in the Queens GOP feud, who shows up and sits second chair next to Tom Ognibene in defense of  former Congressman Bob Turner and the Eric Ulrich-run attempt to overthrow Chairman Ragusa? According to multiple sources, none other than John Haggerty, a convicted felon who stole a million dollars from Michael Bloomberg and is out on appeal pending his request for a retrial.

Contacted for a response, Robert Hornak, Executive Chairman of the Queens GOP was baffled.

John Haggerty was in court today representing Congressman Turner and I find it mind boggling that he would allow such a person to represent him.”

First, it has to be shocking for former Congressman Turner, a well-respected and articulate Republican spokesperson to allow a convicted felon to sit in defense of his claim to being the new chair of the Queens GOP. It leads one to think if he was elected, what type of republican leadership would we have? While both sides have had their problems, one thing remains clear: Just a few weeks ago the Queens GOP held a meeting and the results were definitive. Phil Ragusa was re-elected chairman while Eric Ulrich cried that the results were unfair.

If the results were truly unfair, then why didn’t the renegades file an order to show cause asking for an independent monitor to elect a new chairman? Is it because they knew they didn’t have the votes to win? Or perhaps Tom Ognibene was merely taking lessons on how to steal from John Haggerty? Nevertheless, Turner’s decision to allow a convicted felon to defend his right to be chairman is quite perplexing. It leaves us to believe Bob Turner would do anything for political power including associating himself with one of the most corrupt politician in years who stole more than Tony Seminerio, Sheldon Leffeler, Brian McLaughlin, and so on and so on.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/convicted-felon-sits-second-chair-for-bob-turner/

May 02 2013

Republicans Zero In On 19th CD Race

 

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 4.04.39 AMRepublican Council hopeful Dennis Saffran unveiled a star-studded list of endorsements including former Senator Frank Padavan and Chairman Phil Ragusa earlier this week.

Distinguished former Senator Frank Padavan spoke of his longtime relationship with Saffran whom he had supported in the past when Safrran ran but narrowly lost to then-City Councilman Tony Avella, now Senator Avella.

“I’ve known Dennis and his family for many years and strongly support his nomination and election.  He is passionately committed to preserving the quality of life in our city and in the neighborhoods of Northeast Queens, and will relentlessly fight for these neighborhoods in the City Council in the same way I did in Albany.”

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa also had some encouraging words. “Dennis Saffran has been a great advocate for the policies that have made this city a better, safer place to live during the Giuliani and Bloomberg years, and he’ll be a leader in the Council in the fight to keep these policies in place.”

Robert Hornak, Communications Director For the Queens GOP had this to say, “Dennis and his wife have been extremely active in the decade since then, while raising two great children. We’re confident that his community ties, his background in public policy and his close race from 2001 make him the strongest Republican candidate this year.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/05/republicans-zero-in-on-19-cd-race/

Jan 16 2012

Ulrich Orders Ingrate Special At Russo’s

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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.

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

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.

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


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