Tag Archives: Vincent Tabone

Former state Senator Malcolm Smith gets seven years for bribery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 2:16 p.m.

Former state Senator Malcolm Smith was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday after trying to bribe his way onto the GOP ballot in the 2013 mayoral election, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

Smith, 58, was found guilty on all counts in a federal corruption trial in February following only four hours of jury deliberations. An earlier attempt to prosecute Smith ended in June with a mistrial.

Once one of the most powerful elected officials in state government during his brief tenure as Senate president and later a member of the breakaway Independent Democrats, Smith — who represented south Queens — is scheduled to surrender to authorities Sept. 21, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Smith lost his re-election bid in a primary to Leroy Comrie in September 2014.

Federal prosecutors had reportedly asked for up to 10 years in prison for Smith and eight for former Queens GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone, who was found guilty on all counts in the same trial as Smith. He was also sentenced Wednesday to 42 months in prison for receiving bribes and witness tampering after being busted as part of the plot to rig the Republican mayoral primary by bribing the party’s leaders in three counties to allow Smith, a Democrat, a place on the GOP ballot.

Then-Queens Councilman Dan Halloran was additionally among several officials arrested by the FBI in April 2013 in the plot. Halloran, who declined to run for re-election the year of his arrest, was found guilty on all five counts against him in July 2014 in a separate trial and later sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Smith was also sentenced to two years of supervised release, and Tabone, 48, additionally received one year supervised release and ordered to forfeit $25,000. He will need to surrender on Oct. 1.

“Bribes and kickbacks should never play a role in the selection of candidates for public office. By attempting to buy and sell a spot on New York City’s mayoral ballot, Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone corrupted one of the most fundamental tenets of the democratic process, that candidates cannot bribe their way onto a ballot,” Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said. “Today’s sentences make clear that the cost of violating the public trust in this way will be measured in years in a federal prison.”

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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.

 

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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.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: FBI questioned Queens pols last year over GOP probe


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Councilmember Eric Ulrich and ex-Congressmember Bob Turner were two of many Queens leaders questioned in the FBI’s probe into the county’s GOP last year, The Courier has learned.

“At some point during this investigation, I was questioned by the FBI, as were many other people,” said Ulrich, 28. “I told them what I knew on firsthand knowledge. I also told them what I thought was hearsay.”

Many in the southern Queens district, including former district leaders and candidates, were questioned in person by FBI agents last year into dealings with the party, Ulrich said.

“It’s a federal crime to lie to an FBI agent. I told them the truth or what I knew to be true. What I didn’t know at the time was that there already was an investigation into the Queens County Republican Party,” he said.

The agency launched its investigation into the party last May amid allegations Board of Elections employees may have used their positions to further their careers as political consultants, the New York Post reported.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilmember Dan Halloran, Queens County GOP vice chair Vincent Tabone and Bronx County GOP chair Joseph Savino were part of a group of six officials arrested by the FBI yesterday for conspiring to rig the mayoral election, authorities said.

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

He allegedly bribed Tabone and Savino with $40,000 in cash payouts for their support, according to the Southern District U.S. Attorney and FBI.

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

“I had known for a long time that Vince Tabone was a corrupt person and that he was involved in illegal activity,” Ulrich said. “But I never thought in a million years I would wake up one morning and read about Dan Halloran being implicated in a crime like this. The Dan Halloran that I knew has been a very honest person that works very hard.”

The lawmaker, who did not disclose further details of the investigation, claims Tabone solicited money in the past in exchange for county support.

Ulrich said he cautioned Halloran — his only other Queens GOP colleague in the Council — to stay away from county leaders.

“I had warned Dan a million times. I said these are bad people, and he agreed with me. That’s why I’m so shocked,” Ulrich said. “Dan knew these people were unscrupulous, notorious bad apples.”

Party chair Phil Ragusa called on Tabone to resign, pending the outcome of legal proceedings, according to a statement released by the Queens GOP.

But Ulrich said the “compromised county” needs Ragusa to step down as well and elect Turner as their new leader.

Ragusa has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but Ulrich said that could easily change during the course of the probe.

“Who’s to say what Vince Tabone and others might tell the FBI now that they’ve been arrested,” Ulrich said. “I think they’ll tell everything they know to save their own skin.”