Tag Archives: Councilmember Dan Halloran

Former Councilman Daniel Halloran wanted to secure City Hall posts for Republicans: report

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com


During the White Plains federal corruption trial of state Sen. Malcolm Smith, jurors on Wednesday heard a secretly-taped recording of former City Councilman Daniel Halloran telling an undercover agent that Republicans should get at least half of the city’s top appointments, according to a published report.

Halloran, a Queens Republican, is accused of plotting a $200,000 bribery scheme to make Smith the GOP candidate for mayor.

“It comes down to what is it that you need first?” the agent, who went by the name “Raj” said in the recording taken on Feb. 8, 2013 at the Essex House in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.

“The first dep and a guarantee on the agency heads being split in the party,” Halloran said in the recording. “If he goes to City Hall and … cuts the baby in half so to speak, he plays Solomon, everything, everything works out.”

Halloran goes on to say that Republicans should get half of the 115 mayor-appointed commissioner, deputy commissioner and first assistant posts. He also demanded that Raj convince Smith, if elected as a Republican, to appoint Republicans to judicial positions, giving the conservative party influence in City Hall and “make things happen” for politically friendly developers at the Board of Standards and Appeals and the Buildings Department.

Smith made the failed bid to secure the 2013 Republican mayoral primary line by bribing Halloran and then-Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph “Jay” Savino, prosecutors alleged.


Judge postpones decision on dismissing some charges against Smith, Halloran

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photos

A judge Friday did not decide on motions to dismiss some of the charges against State Senator Malcolm Smith and former Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Halloran’s case was adjourned until February 28, according to sources. A spokesperson for Smith could not confirm his next court date.

After pleading not guilty in April, Halloran and State Senator Malcolm Smith, along with other defendants in the case, initially appeared in court in July to fight some of the charge against them.

Officials said Smith, a Democrat, bribed county GOP bosses to let him run for mayor as a Republican.

Halloran is accused of setting up meetings between Smith and county leaders and negotiating payoffs. He allegedly pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash and offered up councilmember item cash in exchange for bribes, officials said.

Vincent Tabone, ex-vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, and Joseph Savino, former chair of the Bronx County GOP, allegedly took at least $40,000 in cash bribes as part of the conspiracy, authorities said.




Candidates vie for votes in Councilmember Halloran’s district

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The six candidates vying to replace scandal-scarred Councilmember Dan Halloran mapped out ways they would bring integrity back to the seat at a Flushing forum last week.

“There is such anger, and it’s justified,” said Paul Vallone at a forum hosted by the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “We need to reclaim our local council office. It’s been an embarrassment and it has hurt our entire district.”

Halloran pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges for his alleged hand in bribing GOP officials to get Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith on the Republican mayoral ticket.

He said he would not seek re-election this year, which leaves the District 19 seat open to be claimed by Chrissy Voskerichian, Austin Shafran, John Duane, Paul Graziano, Vallone or lone Republican contender Dennis Saffran.

Voskerichian, who quit her job as Halloran’s chief of staff shortly after his arrest, said she was “not going to apologize for being there.”

“I did work for Dan Halloran. I think I did a very good job,” she said. “I was disappointed and upset about what happened. If I didn’t have those three years in office, I probably would not be running for the city council today.”

Pitching ways to bring more transparency to the office, Shafran said councilmembers should ban outside employment and income, while Duane pledged to post all meetings on his website.

“You’re paying my salary. You’re the taxpayer,” Duane said. “You deserve to know exactly what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with.”

Graziano, who pushed for full public financial disclosures, said candidates should not accept money from real estate developers or lobbyists.

He, Voskerichian, Vallone and Shafran also want to eliminate the City Council Speaker’s power to allocate discretionary funds in order for each district to get its fair share.

“Discretionary funding should be per capita and not delivered by the Speaker as a favor or a reward for voting or not voting a certain way,” Voskerichian said.

Saffran said any legislator under indictment for public corruption should be suspended.

“Dan Halloran should not be receiving a public paycheck right now. It’s outrageous that he is,” he said.

Five of the six candidates then fielded preservation and storm readiness questions at a Bayside debate hosted by the Bayside Historical Society this week.

Most agreed the city should put power lines underground and do more to maintain older city trees that have become deadly.

Shafran said he supports requiring backup generators at gas stations and proposed mandating Con Ed to work with the city on storm plans.

Vallone, who did not show up, was comforting the family of his “good friend and mentor” Judge Joseph Risi, who had just passed away, a campaign spokesperson said.

His absence prompted contention from some of his rivals, who claimed he was dodging the debate purposefully due to a poor performance with the historic host group in 2009.

Graziano, at the end of the night, addressed the “deafening silence at the far end of the table” where Vallone’s namecard accompanied his empty seat.

“He didn’t have the courtesy to show up tonight,” Graziano said.

The candidates will debate for the last time before the September 10 primary at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center on August 27 at 7 p.m.



Mailers direct Whitestone voters to wrong polling sites

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An apparent mistake by the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) would have had Whitestone residents voting in Forest Hills during the upcoming primary.

About 100 people in Whitestone, College Point, Malba and Beechhurst were sent BOE mailers last week directing them to vote more than six miles away, double the distance of their usual polling place, a local civic leader said.

The 61-20 Grand Central Parkway poll site listed on the notices is on the border between Corona and Forest Hills.

“I’ve been in Whitestone for 27 years. I’ve always voted at P.S. 193. It’s four blocks from my house,” said resident George Mirtsopoulos, 58. “I get this notice saying I’m voting in Forest Hills. I thought it was ridiculous.”

Mirtsopoulos, Malba Gardens Civic president Alfredo Centola and the area’s city councilmember said they alerted the elections board of the blunder.

The BOE first told residents the change was due to recent redistricting and later switched to say it was a “glitch” that sent voters in the 11357 ZIP code to poll sites in the 11375 area, residents said. The two numbers differ only by switching the last two digits.

“You should check and double check,” Mirtsopoulos said. “Somebody should have said, ‘Wait. They live in Whitestone, why are they voting in Forest Hills?’ The bells and whistles should have gone off a little bit.”

The mailer blindsided multiple residents, mostly the elderly, who did not take immediate notice of change in poll site, Mirtsopoulos said.

“A lot of people on my block didn’t even realize it,” he said. “It would have caused a lot of confusion.”

Councilmember Dan Halloran — who awaits trial for bribery but represents the district for the remainder of the year — said his office “was flooded with calls from angry or upset people.”

He said an 84-year-old widow named Marilyn would not have traveled to Forest Hills despite voting in every election since 1955.

Residents who called the BOE to complain were told new mailers with the correct poll site would be sent out soon, but the Board had no immediate comment for the press.



State Senator Malcolm Smith, LL Cool J to hold Queens Jump and Ball Tournament

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Malcolm Smith

Despite his political troubles embattled State Senator Malcolm Smith will team up with rapper and actor LL Cool J again to present the 9th annual Jump and Ball Tournament.

The event, which features basketball games and double-dutch tournaments, will be free to register and participate in, and will take place at Daniel O’Connell Park in Saint Albans, every Saturday and Sunday starting August 3 to Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will also be music, free food and a variety of other family fun activities, including golf, chess, tennis and a karate showcase at this year’s event.

“This competition is a wonderful opportunity for the youth in the community to get some fresh air and exercise while they show off their talents,” Smith said. “I am looking forward to a huge turnout. I think this year will be our best Jump and Ball ever.”

“NCIS: Los Angles” star LL Cool J helped found the tournament in 2005 with Smith when he wanted to create a program to give back to the community. The celebrity will make an appearance at the event on one day, but that day has not been decided as yet.

Among the sports activities, children will have chances to learn from the Queens Zoo and watch rope trick performances by Cowboy Curly Hall of the Federation of Black Cowboys of Howard Beach on August 17.

The event is among more positive news for Smith, who will be facing charges of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud after investigators alleged that he conspired to rig the mayoral election with Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican party Vice Chair Vincent Tabone.



Smith, Halloran lawyers want some charges dismissed against embattled pols

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photos

State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Dan Halloran and former Republican leaders appeared in court late last week to continue fighting federal charges.

They all pleaded not guilty in April.

Lawyers for the defendants are reportedly fighting to get some of the charges dismissed. They could not be reached for comment in time for press.

Officials said Smith, a Democrat, bribed county GOP bosses to let him run for mayor as a Republican.

Halloran is accused of setting up meetings between Smith and county leaders and negotiating payoffs. He allegedly pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash and offered up councilmember item cash in exchange for bribes, officials said.

Vincent Tabone, ex-vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, and Joseph Savino, former chair of the Bronx County GOP, allegedly took at least $40,000 in cash bribes as part of the conspiracy, authorities said.



Halloran spokesperson latest top aide to jump ship

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The mouthpiece for indicted Councilmember Dan Halloran has quit his post, The Courier has learned.

Kevin Ryan, 37, resigned Friday as the lawmaker’s director of communications. He worked for Halloran for nearly one year.

“I have greatly enjoyed working for the City Council, especially in the unique 19th  District,” Ryan said in a statement. “I am grateful to the councilmember, my co-workers, especially my communications colleague, Victor Mimoni, the fine journalists I’ve had the pleasure of working with and the District 19 residents for making it such an exciting opportunity.”

Halloran is fighting federal charges for conspiring to get State Senator Malcolm Smith on the GOP line in this year’s mayor’s race.

His chief of staff, Chrissy Voskerichian, and his legislative director, John Mulvey, both quit in early April. Voskerichian is now running for his seat in the City Council.

The ex-spokesperson said he has taken a new job as a clerk for the city’s Board of Elections in Queens and will remain active in the GOP and Northeast Queens Republican Club.

“There’s not much more I can do here,” Ryan said, “and the chance to learn all I can about the political process is very appealing. The BOE seems like a great opportunity.”



Halloran, Smith enter not guilty pleas

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photos

Two Queens politicians and a borough GOP boss pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, April 23 in a federal case alleging they conspired to rig the mayoral election, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chair Vincent Tabone face bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud charges.

Bronx County GOP Chair Joseph Savino, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret also entered not guilty pleas.

Prosecutors say Smith, a registered Democrat, sought to bribe county GOP leaders to let him run for mayor as a Republican. He needed consent from three county chairs to appear on this year’s GOP line.

According to indictment details, Smith discussed the possibility of being cheated by county chairs with an undercover FBI agent.

“The worst part about that is, when you screw somebody over money like that […] you’re looking over your shoulder all the rest of your life,” he allegedly said.

“Business is business,” he continued. “They understand. You don’t take somebody’s money and just go, you know. Life is too short, I’m telling you. It comes back around fast.”

The state senator, elected in 2000, is also charged with plotting to misuse $500,000 in state funds, the indictment said.

Halloran is accused of setting up meetings between Smith and county bosses and negotiating payoffs.

He also agreed to give an undercover FBI agent $80,000 in City Council discretionary funds in exchange for cash to fuel his 2012 congressional campaign, according to the indictment.

The councilmember allegedly pocketed nearly $39,000 in cash and $6,500 in campaign checks, authorities said.

Tabone and Savino took at least $40,000 in cash bribes for their support, according to court papers.

An attorney for Tabone said the married father of three is “innocent of all charges.”

“Vince Tabone has never before been accused or convicted of any crime and has been an attorney in good standing for the last 13 years,” said his lawyer, Deborah Misir. “We are confident that when all the facts become clear, Vince Tabone will be fully exonerated.”

Lawyers for the other defendants could not be immediately reached.



Indictment in Smith, Halloran mayoral bribery case

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photos

A federal grand jury has indicted State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Dan Halloran for an alleged bribery plot to rig the mayoral race.

Vincent Tabone, vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, Joseph Savino, chair of the Bronx County GOP, Mayor Noramie Jasmin of Spring Valley, and the deputy mayor, Joseph Desmaret, were also named in yesterday’s indictment.

According to the indictment, Smith, a Democrat, with the help of Halloran, a Republican, tried to bribe his way into a GOP bid for mayor.

Smith needed approval from three of the city’s five GOP county chairmen to appear on the ballot as a Republican.

“We’re going to enter a plea of not guilty. The charges are ill-founded and we look forward to a time when Senator Smith can put this behind him,” said Smith’s attorney, Gerald Shargel Thursday, according to NBC New York.

The defendants are reportedly scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in White Plains federal court.




Malcolm Smith back to work following bribery arrest

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Malcolm Smith

State Senator Malcolm Smith is back to work following his arrest earlier this month on corruption charges.

“We’re serving the people just as we usually do,” said a Smith spokesperson. “We’ve been helping them as we always have.”

On Tuesday, April 2, Smith was arrested along with Councilmember Dan Halloran for allegedly trying to rig the upcoming mayoral election. Despite the charges, Smith arrived in Albany two weeks later to continue his legislation.

In Albany, the embattled senator met with members of the New York State Nurses Association to discuss two bills affecting healthcare: the Safe Patient Handling Act, which would establish safe patient handling policies; and the Safe Staffing for Quality Care, which would set minimum staffing requirements for care facilities.

“These two pieces of legislation will not only makes nurses’ jobs a little easier, but will improve the quality of care for patients,” Smith said.

Back in Senatorial District 14, the spokesperson said that Smith’s staff remains intact and the community feedback has been positive following the scandal.

“They know the senator’s reputation for serving the community and helping people, so they have been very supportive,” said the rep.

As for the future, Smith will be making minimal public appearances, and the staff is “playing it by ear,” according to the spokesperson.

Smith also made a return to Twitter, tweeting that this week’s theme is “God Knows the Heart.”




City Council strips Dan Halloran of funding power

| mchan@queenscourier.com


The City Council has voted to strip disgraced Councilmember Dan Halloran of his committee assignments and power to allocate funding.

Halloran faces federal charges for allegedly playing a key role in a conspiracy and bribery scheme to rig the mayoral election, authorities said.

Power to distribute funds in the 19th District now falls to Speaker Christine Quinn’s office and the Council’s entire Queens Delegation, according to Councilmember Leroy Comrie, the delegation’s chair.

“The entire delegation will be working closely, regarding funding, in consultation with his staff and all of the groups,” Comrie said. “It will be a delegation collaborative effort, working with the community and all the groups that have requested funding.”

Bayside and College Point residents in Halloran’s district recently voted to create kayak and canoe launches in Little Bay Park and restore a cultural institute as part of the city’s participatory budgeting process.

Halloran’s spokesperson Kevin Ryan said the Council will “most likely honor” the votes despite the funding freeze. But sources said the $1 million initiative could be in jeopardy.

“We’ll try to do as much as we can to keep the participatory budgeting,” said Comrie.

Meanwhile, a handful of state elected officials are fighting for a hand in allocating the district’s city funds.

“I have a real problem with someone from outside the district placing money,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We know the district better than anyone else. We want to make sure the groups that deserve the funding in this district get the proper funding. That would be terribly unfair if the groups are disenfranchised.”

Avella and three assemblymembers who represent parts of the district have placed calls to the Speaker to be part of the decision making process.

“That’s not okay in my opinion,” Avella said. “None of them know the groups in this district.”



UPDATE: State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Dan Halloran arrested in alleged plot to rig mayor’s race

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photos

Two Queens politicians were among six officials arrested by the FBI Tuesday for conspiring to rig the mayoral election, authorities said.

State Senator Malcolm Smith allegedly bribed county GOP leaders to let him run for mayor as a Republican, according to the Southern District U.S. Attorney and FBI.

Councilmember Dan Halloran is accused of setting up meetings between Smith and county leaders and negotiating payoffs. He allegedly pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash in exchange for his help, officials said.

“Elected officials are called public servants because they are supposed to serve the people,” FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement. “They broke the law and the public trust. There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal.”

Smith, a registered Democrat, needed consent from three of the city’s five Republican Party county chairmen to appear on the Republican ballot for the city’s 2013 mayoral election.

Vincent Tabone, vice chair of the Queens County Republican Party, and Joseph Savino, chair of the Bronx County GOP, were allegedly part of the conspiracy scheme, officials said. The pair took at least $40,000 in cash bribes in return for their support, a 28-page federal criminal complaint detailed.

“Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes.”

Halloran also agreed to give an undercover FBI agent, posing as a wealthy real estate developer, $80,000 from City Council discretionary funds in exchange for matching funds for his congressional campaign.

The councilmember received $7,500 in cash on September 7 and $6,500 in checks later that month from the agent.

“That’s politics. It’s all about how much,” Halloran allegedly said to the undercover agent. “And that’s our politicians in New York. They’re all like that.”

The agent allegedly told Smith getting support from county leaders would cost “a pretty penny.”

“But it’s worth it. Because you know how big a deal it is,” Smith said, according to the complaint. “You pull this off, you can have the house . . . I’ll be the tenant.”

Smith struck a deal with the undercover agent, authorities said, to use his Senate position to help obtain state funds for a road project in Spring Valley that would benefit the agent’s posed development company.

Mayor Noramie Jasmin of Spring Valley, and the deputy mayor, Joseph Desmaret, were also arrested in connection with the scheme.

Smith, elected to the State Senate in 2000, was the chair of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) before his power was revoked shortly after the arrest.

IDC Leader and Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein said Smith should think about resigning.

“I believe that Senator Smith should seriously consider whether or not he can continue to effectively serve his constituents,” Klein said.

Halloran has been the Republican incumbent in Council District 19 since 2009. He is running for re-election this year.

A Council vote next week could strip him of his committee assignments, freezing his ability to make funding allocations, according to Speaker Christine Quinn. Halloran’s case was sent to the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee.

“These allegations represent a reprehensible abuse of the public’s trust,” Quinn said. “If true, then the full weight of the legal system should be brought to bear on all parties implicated.”

Halloran allegedly wanted to use the bribe money to pay his mortgage, the complaint said. He also urged Smith to appoint him as Deputy Police Commissioner if the hopeful won his bid for mayor.

“You can’t do anything without the f—ing money,” Halloran told the undercover agent, according to the complaint. “Money is what greases the wheels.”

According to Halloran’s spokesperson Kevin Ryan, the lawmaker denies allegations.

The six defendants were arraigned Tuesday in federal court in White Plains, but no pleas were entered.

They were released on $250,000 bonds with travel restrictions and are slated to return to court on April 23.

Meanwhile, Smith’s neighbors called the senator a morally sound leader.

“I’ve known the family for years, and they’ve always been good to me,” said a friend, who did not want to be named. “He has always been good to me. As a neighbor, he’s treated me well and that’s all I know.”

Constituent India Holloway said Smith is held to a higher standard.

“He’s a senator, he knows what’s right,” she said. “He’s supposed to be an upstanding citizen. He represents all of us. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and he should uphold that.”

Todd Shapiro, a spokesperson for Smith, touted the senator’s 13 years of service.

“He will be vindicated when all the facts in the case are revealed,” he said.

-Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes



Matthew Silverstein drops out of District 19 primary race

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Matthew Silverstein, one the five candidates running in the District 19 Democratic primary race to defeat the incumbent councilmember, Dan Halloran, announce he is dropping out of the race.

In a statement, Silverstein confirmed he will be ending his campaign for City Council after going through one of the most difficult years of his life last year with his mother passing away in December.

“My Mom was an amazing woman who wanted me to continue fighting for the issues I care about. However, after consulting with my friends and family, I have decided to suspend my campaign,” said Silverstein.

Although he will no longer be running, Silverstein hopes to find a candidate in the race who represents his ideals and could work together with him to put “this city back on the right path.”

Silverstein, who is a Democratic State Committeeman and the director of public affairs for America Works Of New York, Inc., was facing off against  former vice president of public affairs for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Development Austin Shafran, former assemblymember John Duane, community activist and urban planning consultant Paul Graziano and attorney Paul Vallone, who is the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

“This campaign might be ending, but I am not going away. I will continue to advocate for the issues that are important to me. I will continue my work as a civic leader, activist, and a Democratic State Committeeman,” Silverstein also said in his statement.   “Improving our schools, putting New Yorkers back to work, advocating for our City’s veterans, fighting for tax equity for Co-Op and Condo Owners and preserving our quality of life are the issues that made me want to run for City Council from the very beginning.”



Bayside street to be renamed after man who perished on 9/11

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Talat Hamdani

He died a hero in his mother’s eyes and a potential enemy to his country.

Now the family of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the Bayside hero found wrongly accused of having ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will have his cleared name on a street sign.

“He was a kind, compassionate and humble American. The most important thing to remember about him is his due place in history,” said mother Talat Hamdani, 61. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old NYPD cadet and certified paramedic when he voluntarily and fatally rushed to his nation’s aid 11 years ago.

“We knew he would go. That was him,” said Talat of her first son. “He would help people in the streets if they were in distress. If there was an accident, he would pull over and see if everything was okay.”

But instead of honor, the chemistry major at Queens College died with a tarnished name.

Authorities hunted him, falsely suspecting the Pakistani-American was in league with terrorists until his remains were found scattered in the rubble near the north tower by his medical bag, according to reports.

Now Community Board 11 has voted unanimously to honor the hometown hero by renaming the street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, outside his former Bayside home, after his legacy.

“It was very emotional, listening to [Talat] and her pain,” said district manager Susan Seinfeld. “As a mother myself, I can just feel that. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. He should be recognized as much as anyone who was on duty. He gave his life to help people.”

About six street signs within the Community Board have been renamed in honor of 9/11 victims, Seinfeld said.

“A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “He entered the twin towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people.”

Mohammed Salman is also mentioned in the 2001 Patriot Act as a 9/11 Muslim-American hero.

“We will never know how many lives he saved that day,” Talat said. “My son is priceless. Nothing can bring him back.”



Cuomo administration mainstay resigns to run for Queens City Council seat

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Austin Shafran

A former mainstay in the Cuomo administration has officially announced his intent to run for City Council.

Austin Shafran, 32, resigned from his post as vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development (ESD) on January 18 to enter what is now a four-way Democratic primary race for the 19th District.

“I’ve played a leading role in Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make government work better, cost less and produce more for taxpayers,” Shafran said of his ESD job, “and now I want to put that same record of results to work for the communities I grew up in.”

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The primary winner will likely face off with incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran in the November election if no other Republican contenders surface.

Shafran is the Democratic leader in the 25th Assembly District. The ESD’s mouthpiece for nearly two years, he also served as senior advisor to the agency’s head, Kenneth Adams. Prior, he was a community liaison for former Congressmember Gary Ackerman and communications director for then-Councilmember David Weprin.

“Working with Congressman Ackerman and Governor Cuomo, I’ve developed the experience and the clear vision to deliver better schools and safer streets and an economy that works for middle class families,” Shafran said. “Those are things that we’ve been lacking in these communities for the past four years. We can do better.”

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.