Tag Archive: Tom Ognibene

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/

Feb 16 2013

A conversation with Eric Mingott on the GOP Proxy War

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“If you don’t like the leader you challenge them in an election – you don’t sabotage them.”

Eric Mingott is a proud Republican. He’s a former Marine and presently works as a tax accountant, but his heart is – and forever shall be – in service to the public. Mingott was a hopeful for the 35th Assembly District until his dreams were crushed after John Haggerty knocked him off the ballot, but now (as he’s eying another run for office) he’s looking to the future to rebuild a fractured Republican party.

During his campaign in 2012, Mingott had taken the time to register friends and family with the Republican Party so that they could serve as witnesses to his petitions. “Family, friends, they registered republican because of me — and we’re glad and proud — but the BOE didn’t process them in time,” he said.  Mingott said he collected 260 signatures out of the 185. “We received enough but at the end of the day, but we failed because of the witnesses.”

Then John Haggerty showed up at court.  He was one of the “perps whose hands were in it and exposed themselves to knocking me off the ballot,” said Mingott.  Haggerty, a convicted felon that specialized in the nuances of election law, challenged Mingott’s petitions. But Mingott didn’t have his own election lawyer fearing it would cost too much money and reasoned with himself that, after all, it was a Hispanic coalition and the Future Majority Project (an advocacy organization which helps Hispanics and women win public office) that had put their faith in him and propped up his grassroots campaign. However, he said for the sake of the Party, and for solidarity, he backed off when Haggerty attacked.   “We’d have been in court until after the primary,” he joked at his decision which he regrets everyday. “I am a Marine and Marines never give up.”

His experience is one small battle of a war that has been going on for 30 years. Most recently, insiders consider the illegal appointee just part of a ‘proxy war’ waged by southern Queens rebels Tom Ognibene and Eric Ulrich. However, Mingott does not believe that the ends justify the means.

“If you don’t like the leader you challenge them in an election – you don’t sabotage them,” said Mingott.

But Mingott, who considers himself part of the old school of gentleman politics, believes if “they said they mailed it, then they must have mailed it” and that the public humiliation of either side is ungentlemanly.

“Why would someone in that position lie,” he asked while insisting the matter be handled in-house. “Within the party, our infighting should not be public, which is the best way to go.”

It looks as if it will be a tough battle looming ahead as the Judge’s decision is appealed in court. Although Mingott doesn’t know Michael Michel, he knows Judith Stupp and said she ran the BOE to the best of her abilities. “These are pure party positions where we need good citizens because at the end of the day the American people are the ones that will be hurting. New Yorkers in general getting hurt, the voters are getting hurt — it’s not about sneaking things in at the last minute” he relented.

Mingott believes the proxy war is doing irreparable harm to the Party’s image. “We’re hoping we can move the party into a better position; it’s not about leadership, the party leadership is there…but more and more everyday people don’t want to be republicans because of the mass-media  looking at us as anti-everything. It’s not about leadership it’s about resources.”

In the 35th AD in the East Elmhurst \ Corona section of Queens with incumbent Jeffrion Aubry, the GOP are outnumbered 10 to 1 and trying to get a Republican movement in his district would be a tough undertaking. Despite the odds, Mingott seems undaunted. “People don’t want to hear us because of what the national level republicans are preaching.” Again, Mingott insisted it’s not for lack of leadership. “Our leadership is there we need younger people and fresh faces.  It’s time to focus on elections and reelecting our candidates and finding new ones. The infighting serves no purpose.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/02/a-conversation-with-eric-mingott-on-the-gop-proxy-war/

May 15 2012

An open message to Elizabeth Crowley: The Citizens Will Reject The Politics of Lies and Deception

Elizabeth Crowley wants you to believe that she was the one that secured the resources to design, develop, and implement the new schools within her Council District.

As a matter of fact Crowley mailed a piece of campaign literature all across Queens to curry favor with those deeply concerned about Education in her bid to become your Congresswoman from the 6thDistrict, however upon research and review and confirmation from her office spokesman, she’s taking credit for schools that were budgeted and started construction prior to her even being elected to the City Council.

Elizabeth Crowley fought for the resources to open four new public schools to relieve overcrowding in her City Council District,” according to her campaign mail.

Her spokesman, Eric Yun, indicated that the “Metropolitan High School site was funded by Elizabeth”, but a check of District Education sources and community leaders indicate that the development of this site goes back to 2001, during the days of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Those in the community clearly recall Forest City Rattner was going to place a 35 multiplex movie theater. The community and its elected officials were adamantly opposed and the site was eventually turned over to the Department of Education for an 8 acre educational complex.

Who really fought for the funding?

District 24 Community Education Council president Nick Comaianni said it wasn’t Liz.

No, it wasn’t Liz, not at all – that goes back to Tom Ognibene and Councilman Dennis Gallagher– the actual school was funded during the term of Councilmembers Gallagher, Katz and during my times at the CEC. We obviously came up with a plan to locally zone the school, but we finalized it by the time it was built. I believe when it was finished—2 years ago, Crowley would have been the Councilperson but it wasn’t funded during her term, no way now how,” said Comaianni .

According to Comaianni,

“It [the funding] came from CEC24 that lobbied the Chancellor to get as much money to deal with the overcrowding. These schools go back to the capital budget in 2005, we had 3,600 seats and we lobbied for an extra 3,000 seats and we got it with the help of Councilman Gallagher.”

(Btw: Crowley’s spokesperson did not even realize that the Metropolitan Campus is NOT within her Council District it is actually in the 29th District occupied by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz. To be fair we should mention that the leader in that high school fight was Councilwoman Melinda Katz.)

The second school Elizabeth is falsely asserting she delivered is the new Maspeth High School which hasn’t even opened its doors. This project first appeared in the 2005 Capital Plan four years before Elizabeth was sworn into office. Oddly this school was the subject of great debate and many in the community opposed the construction. Elizabeth told the Daily News that she would “oppose this development if the school were not locally zoned.”

Yun contacted us after his initial quotes to retract his statement. Yun said he had “misspoke” and that Crowley fought to keep local zoning and construction, which did in fact occur before her election into office. He said two of the four schools mentioned in Crowley’s literature were schools in Richmond Hill. Richmond Hill is outside the 6th Congressional District.

Yun initially indicated two additional schools were elementary schools, but couldn’t name them. Checking the district, the only three schools to be developed were PS113 and PS128 and PS49. Does Elizabeth really believe this to be true? Does she believe that she fought for those resources? How do you fight for something that’s already in the budget? All of the aforementioned schools were under construction well prior to her election!

Yun’s retraction was questionable. What are the four schools mentioned in Crowley’s campaign literature? Is it P.S 290 and P.S 273 in Richmond Hill which opened in September 2010? Is it possible that she entered the Council on January 7th 2009 and these schools were designed, constructed and occupied within a short few months?  No, the funding was in place prior to her election. Is it the Metropolitan High School? Is it Maspeth High School? Is it Public School 113, 128 or 49? The answer is it was none of them.

The voting citizens deserve honesty from their elected officials not misinformation distortions and half-truths. How could Miss Crowley have fought for these projects and delivered for her Council District when she was not even elected? The answer is clear: She Didn’t! But Liz hopes you will read her fancy slick piece of political pandering and believe all is true.

Sorry Liz, Queens Politics is designed to tell the truth by holding deceitful politicians like you accountable for what you tell us.

We have seen it all whether it is Al Gore saying he created the Internet….Or Bill Clinton saying he did not have sex with that woman…. or John Kerry overstating his military service…. Now it is Elizabeth Crowley unable to list her own accomplishments and achievements as she seeks to obtain higher office, she stakes claim to projects she had nothing to do with… Is this the type of leadership we want to lead us in Washington? I don’t think so and I don’t think the sophisticated voters of Queens will think so either. And Liz, stay in the Council for some more time until you can have some accomplishments of your own to write about.

Well Elizabeth, or Mr. Yun if any of this information is incorrect call me you have the number.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/05/liz-crowley-had-us-all-fooled-bad-for-queen/

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.

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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

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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/

Dec 22 2011

Ognibene Tries To Axe Campaign Finance Regulation

In a not so stunning federal lawsuit, Tom Ognibene, who was once named as an unindicted coconspirator in a case involving bribery unsuccessfully challenged city anti-corruption campaign  finance laws so that he could donate more money to Councilmember Liz Crowley.

Reuters – A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday tossed out a challenge to New York City anti-corruption campaign finance laws, finding the so-called “pay to play” rules do not violate free speech rights.

In an opinion affirming a 2009 lower court ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said city rules prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns, and requiring candidates to disclose contributions from people and groups that do business with the city, were appropriate given legitimate concerns about corruption.

“Contributions to candidates for city office from persons with a particularly direct financial interest in these officials’ policy decisions pose a heightened risk of actual and apparent corruption, and merit heightened government regulations,” the opinion by judges Debra Livingston, Guido Calabresi and Paul Crotty said.

The lawsuit, brought by Republican politician Tom Ognibene and others, sought to use the landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to attack the New York City laws.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court found that the government cannot ban political spending by corporations in elections. The 2nd Circuit judges said that ruling only applies to independent corporate expenditures, and not to contributions limits such as those enacted in New York.

For the full article: http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2011/12_ _December/Challenge_to_NY_campaign_finance_laws_fails__US_appeals_court/

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/ognibene-tries-to-axe-campaign-finance-regulation/


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