Politics Aside: Watch the falling dominos


| RHornak@queenscourier.com |



Watching one of those world-record setting domino falls, where the pieces go off in all different directions and patterns, is like watching politically connected indictments in Queens these days. As the dominos fall, they get closer and closer to knocking down more elected officials.

A few weeks back this column wrote about the Kool-aid many Queens Democrats must be drinking that makes them think what is obviously unethical is somehow permissible for them. Featured were the scandals surrounding Congressmember Gregory Meeks. Now, the man who gave Meeks $40,000, in what was allegedly a loan, but with no repayment terms, interest, or any signed agreement, is reported to be negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.

Developer Ehul Ahma’s deal, however, seems to be taking an unusually long time to work out, fueling speculation that he has something to offer regarding the Meeks issue, and possibly other Queens electeds. How far this will reach is not known, but would seem to be a bad omen for Meeks.

Meanwhile, the dominos are also falling around State Senator Shirley Huntley, who saw four of her close associates indicted this past week for allegedly stealing $30,000 in taxpayer “member items” Huntley secured for a local non-profit, Parent Workshop, Inc, that she founded before being elected.

The indictments included Lynn Smith, Huntley’s niece and Parent Workshop’s treasurer, and Patricia Savage, Parent Workshop’s President and Huntley’s Chief of Staff. The probe was conducted jointly by the Attorney General and State Comptroller’s offices, and is said to be ongoing, indicating more indictments could follow.

And the dominos are falling fast and furiously around City Comptroller John Liu, who is seeing scandals arising involving almost everyone in his fundraising operation, and has yet to reveal the names of the bundlers from his 2009 campaign, whose names he was supposed to reveal in order to receive matching funds.

One of Liu’s known bundlers, Oliver Pan, was arrested a few weeks back for breaking campaign finance laws, including creating “straw donors” to funnel money above legal limits to candidates. This is an allegation recently made against Liu’s fundraising operation, with many of his donors having no idea they made a contribution, or some seeming not to exist at all.

Keep watching the dominos fall. It’s always entertaining to see the patterns they create, and to see if they will go all the way to the end, taking all the dominos down in one motion.