Tag Archives: Jimmy Meng

Queens political hall of shame


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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This New York City election season features not one, but two formerly disgraced politicians asking voters to give them a second chance.

Former Congressmember Anthony Weiner, who announced he is running for mayor in May, and former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who launched his bid for city comptroller last week, were both forced to resign after sexual scandals.

They’re not the only ones in the political hall of shame. Here’s a recap of some recent Queens electeds who have been caught in their own scandals.

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Dan Halloran

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilmember Dan Halloran are still fighting off bombshell accusations they had an elaborate scheme to rig the 2013 mayoral election.

The two were among six officials arrested by the FBI on April 2.

Smith, a registered Democrat, needed consent from three of the city’s five GOP chairmen to run for mayor as a Republican. He allegedly bribed GOP officials to get on the ticket.

Feds say Halloran pocketed nearly $21,000 in cash for setting up meetings between Smith and GOP officials. He also offered up councilmember item cash in exchange for bribes, prosecutors said.

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elected to the State Senate in 2000, was the chair of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) before his power was revoked shortly after the arrest.

Halloran has been the Republican incumbent in Council District 19 since 2009. He was stripped of his committee assignments and ability to allocate funds. He said he would not seek reelection this year.

The two have denied wrongdoing. Their cases are ongoing.

Shirley Huntley

Former State Senator Shirley Huntley was arrested and charged last August with two felonies and a misdemeanor for drafting a fake letter to show that a sham nonprofit group, the Parents Information Network, used a $30,000 state grant for “workshops.”

Despite calls for her to resign following the arrest, Huntley continued with her reelection campaign, but lost her seat to then-Councilmember James Sanders in the 2012 Democratic Primary. She had held the seat since 2007.

Though she initially pleaded not guilty, she pleaded guilty to the charges almost six months after her arrest. In May, she was sentenced to one year and one day in jail plus three years probation.

The same month, it was revealed that Huntley secretly recorded the conversations of elected officials while she was still in office at the request of federal authorities.

Jimmy Meng

Former Assemblymember Jimmy Meng was arrested by the FBI in July 2012 and charged with bribery.

Meng, 69, was the first Asian-American to serve in the New York State legislature. He represented Flushing from 2005 to 2006 and is the father to Congressmember Grace Meng.

Feds said Meng solicited $80,000 in bribes from a state court defendant who had been charged with state tax crimes and sought Meng’s help to reduce the sentence.

Meng was caught red-handed at his Flushing lumber yard accepting a fruit basket filled with cash from the defendant, who was cooperating with FBI agents.

He pleaded guilty last November and served his one month jail sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was released on April 18.

Meng is currently serving four months of house arrest and two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and serve 750 hours of community service.

Hiram Monserrate

Former Councilmember and State Senator Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months in prison in December 2012 after pleading guilty to charges that he misappropriated more than $100,000 in City Council discretionary funding to finance his failed 2006 run for state Senate.

The money was directed to the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment (LIBRE), a non-profit in his council district at the time. The discretionary funds, which are drawn from city taxpayer dollars, were used to pay employees of the non-profit to collect signatures, work on his Senate campaign and conduct a voter registration drive.

Monserrate, who was elected to the state Senate in 2008 after eight years in the City Council, was expelled from the seat in 2010 after being convicted of domestic assault on his girlfriend. He lost the subsequent special election to state Senator Jose Peralta.

Anthony Seminerio

FBI agents arrested longtime Queens Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio in September 2008 after an investigation found that he that he took nearly $1 million from hospitals, a school and other entities for actions he undertook as a member of the State Assembly. A grand jury indicted him a month later.

In June 2009, he resigned from his seat after 30 years in the Assembly and pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced in February 2010 to six years in prison.

Seminerio passed away in January 2011 at age 75.

Brian McLaughlin

In March 2008, Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin, a seven-term politician and former head of the New York City Central Labor Council (CLC), pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $2.2 million in funds from people he worked for and served along with numerous organizations.

Those included the CLC, the state of New York and even a number of nonprofits.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Following his 2006 arrest, he left office at the end of the year after serving in the Assembly since 1993.

Alan Hevesi

In December 2006, former Queens Assemblymember and State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to a class E felony defrauding the state government by using a state employee as a personal chauffeur for his ailing wife.

Hevesi, who resigned as comptroller the same month he pleaded guilty, received the maximum four-year sentence.

After serving 20 months behind bars, Hevesi was released from prison. He will remain on parole until April 2015.

Dennis Gallagher

First elected in 2001, City Councilmember Dennis Gallagher resigned in March 2008 after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, admitting that he sexually abused a woman in his office in Middle Village in July 2007 while he was intoxicated.

The victim later filed a civil suit against him.

 

 

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Ex-Assemblymember Jimmy Meng nears release from prison


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Disgraced ex-Assemblymember Jimmy Meng is halfway through his one month sentence, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The 69-year-old father of Congressmember Grace Meng has served two weeks so far in the low-to-minimum security Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is slated to be released April 18.

Following his prison sentence, Meng will serve four months of house arrest and two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and serve 750 hours of community service.

The former lawmaker was facing a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of $250,000 for scamming thousands from a state court defendant.

He was caught on July 24 at his Flushing lumber yard accepting a fruit basket containing $80,000 cash in bribe money.

 

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Ex-Assemblymember Jimmy Meng sentenced in bribery scheme


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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It’s one month in jail for former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng.

The father of Congressmember Grace Meng was sentenced on Tuesday, March 12 in Brooklyn Federal Court after pleading guilty to federal wire fraud charges in November, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“I love my father very much. He made no excuses for his actions, took full responsibility for his behavior and accepted the consequences. Hopefully, we can soon put this difficult chapter in our lives behind us so that he can be back with his family and grandchildren and move on to the next stage of his life,” said his daughter in a statement.

Following his prison time, Meng will serve four months of house arrest and two years of probation. The 69-year-old was also ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and serve 750 hours of community service.

Meng was facing a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of $250,000 for scamming thousands from a state court defendant.

He was caught on July 24 at his Flushing lumber yard accepting a fruit basket containing bribe money.

“Jimmy Meng held himself out as a power broker, able to buy and sell justice,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. “In reality, he was a swindler who tried to obtain $80,000 for a nonexistent bribery scheme.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of snow and rain, then snow and rain in the afternoon. High of 43. Windy. Winds from the NE at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Wednesday night: Overcast with snow and rain, then snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 19. Windy. Winds from the NNE at 25 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Chance of snow 80% with accumulations up to 2 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: I Love You, Apple, I Love You, Orange – World Premiere Screening in LIC

The dramatic independent feature, I Love You, Apple, I Love You, Orange, written and directed by NYU graduate Horam Kim, will have its world premiere at the Queens World Film Festival at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City at 7:45 p.m. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Fetish website creator takes stand at ‘cannibal cop’ trial

A Russian man who operates a fetish website where prosecutors say a New York police officer met others interested in killing and cooking women told a jury on Tuesday that users enjoy talking about gruesome topics including sexual asphyxiation, sex with dead bodies and cannibalism. Read more: ABC New York/AP

Queens Rep. Grace Meng pleads for lenient sentencing in her father’s bribery case

Queens Rep. Grace Meng is asking a federal judge to go easy on her father when he’s sentenced for a bribery scheme. Read more: New York Daily News

No raps in FBI shoot

The off-duty FBI agent who opened fire from his bedroom window on three punks breaking into his car in Queens last July will not be charged with a crime, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

Elected officials receptive to USTA expansion in Flushing Meadows if concessions are made

Park advocates are up in arms after discovering a letter from elected officials intimating they may be receptive to a controversial expansion in Queens’ flagship park — under the right conditions. Read more: New York Daily News

TSA to allow pocketknives, some sports equipment

Small pocketknives and an array of sporting equipment — banned from aircraft cabins in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will once again be allowed in U.S. planes, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday. Read more: CNN

Venezuelans mourn Chavez, prepare for election

Shattered supporters of Hugo Chavez mourned his death in a flood of emotion that allies of the socialist leader hope will help ensure the survival of his self-styled revolution when voters elect a successor. Read more: Reuters

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


Today’s Forecast

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Northeast wind 7 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. North wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: LIC Bar: Comedy and Trivia Show

Every Thursday night Stephanie Holmes brings you hilarious and creative trivia. With categories like “name that burger” and audio rounds like “more cowbell” and “name that sha-la-la” you’re sure to have an interesting time. Every show features 3 stand up comedians to entertain you while we add up the points. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Jimmy Meng pleads guilty to federal wire fraud charges

Former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to federal wire fraud charges, according to the FBI. Meng, the father to newly elected Congressmember and current Assemblymember Grace Meng, reportedly entered the plea on November 14 at around 2 p.m. Read more: Queens Courier

Mitt Romney’s sour grapes to top donors

Mitt Romney can’t lay off the “47%.” The losing GOP presidential candidate unloaded a cartful of sour grapes on his top donors Wednesday, saying President Obama won because he handed out “big gifts” to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. Read more: Daily News

FBI found classified information on mistress’s computer, gov’t documents in home: sources

The FBI found a substantial amount of classified information improperly secured on the personal computer of disgraced CIA director Gen. David Petraeus’ mistress, sources said yesterday. The files were discovered on a machine removed from Paula Broadwell’s Charlotte, NC, home as the feds investigated her sordid affair with the military commander whose biography she co-wrote. Read more: NY Post

R.A. Dickey wins NL Cy Young Award

In a lost season, R.A. Dickey was one of the Mets’ few bright spots. Responsible for 20 of the team’s 74 wins, Dickey took home the National League’s Cy Young award, beating a tough field that included last year’s winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals. Read more: Queens Courier

Caribbean diplomats return the favor

Caribbean nations are all too familiar with the wrath of hurricanes and the subsequent relief that flows from the U.S. But in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, high-ranking diplomats from a dozen Caribbean countries have pitched in to return the favor to their adopted city. Read more: Daily News

School’s out for jeans and jeggings

Teen fashion staples like jeans and jeggings aren’t simply banned from one Queens high school — wearing them can get students suspended, The Post has learned. The “business casual” code at Maspeth HS, which serves nearly 500 ninth- and 10th-graders, requires polo or collared shirts and sweaters, and slacks, khakis or corduroys — but strictly forbids the kids from donning jeans, tights, jeggings or even bright-colored pants. Read more: NY Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 86. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.Tuesday Night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Live at the Gantries with Christel Rice

Traditional Irish flute player and Philadelphia native Christel Rice has created a sensational and unique style with her music. She studied with the late Michael Rafferty of Ballinakill, Ireland where she learned the regional style of flute playing. Come see her preform for free tonight at Gantry Plaza State Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Glendale property owner in talks to lease vacant Cooper Ave. land to local nonprofit for a homeless shelter

A Glendale property owner is mulling a plan to turn a former factory into a shelter for the homeless, though community leaders have vowed to fight it. Read more: New York Daily News 

Vallone urges emergency lanes on Queens Boulevard

Forget bike lanes and pedestrian plazas: It’s time to accommodate emergency responders navigating Queens’ deadliest road, a lawmaker says. Read more: New York Post

Congressional Candidate Meng comments on her father’s bribe charges

As Democratic congressional candidate Grace Meng picked up the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch at City Hall on Monday, she spoke publicly for the first time about her father’s arrest on wire fraud charges. Read more: NY1

Judge who accused cop of assault says Queens DA is whitewashing probe

The Queens judge who accused a cop of striking him in the throat with a military-style chop says the District Attorney’s probe appears to be a sham. Read more: New York Daily News 

DOE finds almost 70 percent of city students live in poor households

At Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, 65 percent of the students live in households that earn under $30,000. That is double the figure of just three years ago. While Hillcrest saw one of the biggest jumps, student poverty has increased citywide. Read more: NY1

Bratton makes rounds

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is signaling his interest in succeeding Commissioner Raymond Kelly, holding private meetings with potential mayoral candidates during which he’s discussing public-safety strategies and his desire to return to service. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Veteran officer, gunman die in Texas shootout

A routine serving of an eviction notice to a man living near the Texas A&M University campus turned deadly for Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann when the resident opened fire on him, leading to the death of the law enforcement officer and another man before the gunman was killed. Read more: AP

Halloran demands campaign cash disclosure


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Councilmember Dan Halloran, who initially clammed up after the federal arrest of his opponent’s father, broke his silence last week and demanded his rival open up about her campaign coffers.

Assemblymember Grace Meng — who stands between Halloran and his eyed seat in the House — was dealt what could be a major blow to her campaign when her father Jimmy Meng, a former Queens assemblymember, was arrested on June 24 on a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly attempting to scam $80,000 in cash from a state court defendant.

Halloran, who has frequently criticized how his opponent handles major district and national issues, originally declined to comment on the arrest. But the congressional hopeful reportedly addressed the issue during an endorsement speech the day after, according to the website Politicker.

“In my race, my opponent had her father arrested and indicted in federal court yesterday for scamming $80,000 out of a Chinese businessman, on tape, by FBI,” Halloran said in a video posted by the New York Observer political blog. “And he bundled one quarter of her money for her race, but they don’t even mention her. Don’t even mention her. If that had been me, it would have been as if I committed the crime. Why? Because I’m a Republican.”

Halloran’s camp released a statement on August 6, urging his opponent to disclose her “flush with special interest” finances and have a campaign based on transparency.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure reports, Jimmy Meng contributed at least $5,000 to his daughter’s congressional campaign. Grace Meng’s spokesperson, Austin Finan, did not openly disclose their campaign’s bundlers but fired back by calling Halloran a “whining politician” with “reckless, unfounded nastiness.”

“Recklessly implicating and attacking an independent woman with a sterling reputation in an attempt to score cheap political points is distasteful and sad,” Finan said, adding that the campaign followed stringent protocols to comply with FEC guidelines. “Simply saying something doesn’t make it so — an important lesson most elementary school students learn, but one Councilman Halloran cannot seem to grasp.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY: Free Yoga-Fit classes

Free Yoga-Fit Classes will be conducted by Susan Blayer on Fridays at 11 AM and Sundays at 1 PM starting July 20. Yoga-fit is basic yoga combined with fitness exercises, and learned to combine breath with movement—appropriate for all ages, with doctor’s approval.

[Click here for more info] or to [submit your own events]

Tentative deal ends Con Ed Union lock out

It was the threat of very bad weather that broke the impasse in Con Ed’s labor dispute. After Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought the two sides together in his Midtown offices Thursday, they first announced workers would return to work temporarily to handle the severe weather. Then, just two hours later, they emerged again to announce a labor agreement, the product, Cuomo said, of crisis. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Dad-burned candidate 

Assemblywoman Grace Meng faces a more fiercely competitive race to win a House seat in Queens following the embarrassing bribery bust of her father, Jimmy Meng, political insiders said yesterday. Backers of her Republican opponent, City Councilman Dan Halloran, pounced on the Meng family scandal. Read more: [New York Post]

Police seek two men in connection with Queens robbery

Police in Queens are looking for two men they allege robbed a gas station in Ridgewood. Police allege that on Sunday, July 15 at around 3 a.m., two men robbed a CITGO employee on Forest Avenue. Read more: [NY1] 

Long Island City-based Songza music service streams for business success 

A trio of college friends are betting that they have created a soundtrack for success. The Long Island City-based Songza, which streams curated song playlists tailored to fit listeners’ moods, has several million users, according to the company. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival marks nation’s 50 years of independence with food, music and fun

The spicy scent of jerk seasoning wafted through the Caribbean crowds at the 2nd annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in southeast Queens. About 8,500 people came out last Sunday to Roy Wilkins Park to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence, hear live reggae music — and sample jerk chicken, pork and other Jamaican cuisine, organizers said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY: Irish Music Concert in Sergeant Collins Park 

Visit Sergeant Collins Park for a concert of Spirited Irish Music with a Global Twist. Admission free, all welcome. Jigs, reels and more. Catch the Celtic Spirit! Fiddle-guitar duo Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga with Tim Alworth on percussion.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

State DOE slams Jamaica HS in report 

The New York State Department of Education is out with a scathing report on Jamaica High School. The report says two special education teachers are uncertified, there are no honors or SAT prep courses, and science and math classes have been cut. Read more: [NY1] 

Refurbished Forest Park Carousel enjoys a summer rebirth as crowds rediscover ‘jewel’  

The historic Forest Park Carousel, reopened after years of being shuttered, is rebuilding its audience this summer. It has hosted almost 15,000 rides since Memorial Day and long-time residents are rediscovering it every day. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Veteran sushi chef Taka Terashita sets up shop in the Rockaways

Taka Terashita rolls with the punches. When the chef lost his job in March, Terashita decided to take his sushi skills to the newest food frontier, Rockaway Beach. Surf Sushi in the Beach 96th St. concession area was the first location for Rockapulco Eats, a Daily News summer series that analyzes the deluge of finer food that has taken the boardwalk by storm. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City Correction Department to battle Rikers Island violence with body scanners 

The latest in high-tech body scanners are not for passengers boarding an airplane. But for inmates locked up on Rikers Island and in other city correctional facilities– Prisoners who may try to sneak a blade or other weapons past correction officers. Read more: [NY1] 

Bad call by ex-pol 

In a move that was amazingly foolish and incredibly brazen, a former Queens lawmaker now under indictment on federal bribery charges called an FBI informant at the center of his corruption case — only minutes after he was released on $1 million bail — in a possible attempt to obstruct justice, stunned officials said yesterday. Read more: [New York Post] 

[UPDATE] Jimmy Meng arrested on a federal wire fraud charge


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng, the father of congressional hopeful and current Assemblymember Grace Meng, has been arrested on a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly attempting to scam $80,000 in cash from a state court defendant, federal officials said.

Meng allegedly promised the defendant — who sought the former elected official’s help after being charged with state tax crimes — that his sentence would be reduced to one year if he paid prosecutors $20,000 each in bribes, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Federal prosecutors said Meng offered to be the middle man, instructing the individual to conceal and deliver the $80,000 payout in a fruit basket. The government investigation, however, uncovered no evidence the past politician even contacted prosecutors, and officials said Meng planned to keep the bribe money for himself.

“Give it to me and I will give it to them,” Meng allegedly told the defendant during a July 17 recorded telephone call, the criminal complaint shows.

Meng was caught red-handed on July 24 at his Flushing lumber yard accepting the fruit basket which held thousands of dollars in cash from the defendant, who was cooperating with FBI special agents, authorities said. He was immediately placed under arrest and was released the following day on a $1 million bond secured by his two homes in Bayside and Flushing, said Bob Nardoza, spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

The ex-legislator was admonished a few minutes after his hearing by Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak for calling the defendant on his cell phone, Nardoza said. Contacting the witness, Nardoza said, violates bail restrictions, and Meng was warned further tampering could land him immediately in jail, the U.S. attorney spokesperson said.

“Jimmy Meng sought to be a power broker in the halls of justice. But the influence he sought to peddle was corrupt and his power was illusory,”  Lynch said in a statement. “This arrest confirms that justice is not for sale.”

Lynch said he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

“This type of conduct discredits the trust we place in our public officials,” said FBI assistant director in charge Janice Fedarcyk.

Last month, Grace Meng won the 6th District Congressional primary, beating three opponents and securing her seat in the general election against Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran.

She thanked her parents during the June 26 victory speech, calling them her “moral compass.” But the congressional candidate is now distancing herself from her father, saying in a statement she is “independent” of him and “always have been, always will be.”

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by these allegations,” Grace Meng said, adding she had no knowledge of his actions or the investigation. “Until more facts emerge and we have a better understanding of the situation, the only thing further I’ll say is that I urge my father to fully cooperate with all authorities.”

Jimmy Meng contributed $5,000 to his daughter’s congressional campaign, Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure reports show. He gave her $2,500 for her primary run and another $2,500 for the general election, according to filings.

The former assemblymember was elected to office in 2004, but only served for one year. Grace Meng has been holding his old seat since 2008.

Halloran, who has issued several statements this month criticizing how his opponent handles major district and national issues, declined to comment.