Who's Who in the Malcolm Smith Bribery Case

By Julie Shapiro on April 2, 2013 8:27pm | Updated on April 3, 2013 1:10pm

NEW YORK — The alleged far-reaching bribery scheme that landed six New York political leaders in jail Tuesday has a cast of powerful, and not-so-powerful, players stretching from Queens, to The Bronx, Albany and Rockland County.

Here's a list of who is who:

Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith is a Democratic state senator who is accused of bribing a city councilman, two county Republican leaders and two Rockland County officials in order to get on the ballot as a Republican and run for mayor in 2013.

Federal prosecutors said Smith, 56, who is no stranger to controversy, arranged $40,000 in bribes for Vincent Tabone and Joseph Savino, two of the county Republican leaders whose support Smith would have needed in order to run on the GOP line.

Smith allegedly also leaned on Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran to find officials who would be open to bribes. Smith also worked with Halloran to secure money for the bribes by promising state favors to a real estate developer — who was actually an undercover FBI agent — in return for cash from the developer.

Smith was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and participating in a bribery conspiracy.

A Queens resident, Smith was first elected to the state Senate in 2000 and represents the 14th District in Queens. Until Tuesday, he was chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference, whose members defected from the Democratic Conference last year to form a coalition government with Senate Republicans.

Dan Halloran

Dan Halloran is a Republican city councilman who is accused of working as a "quarterback" in state Sen. Malcolm Smith's bribery scheme, identifying officials who would be open to bribes and arranging meetings with them, prosecutors said.

Halloran, 42, arranged for an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a real estate developer to meet with two Republican county leaders to bribe the county leaders for their support of Smith's mayoral campaign, authorities said.

Halloran also agreed to steer up to $80,000 in City Council funds to the FBI's posed real estate developer, in exchange for the developer's participation in the scheme, prosecutors said.

In return for his services, Halloran allegedly pulled in about $20,500 in cash bribes for himself and said he wanted to be named deputy police commissioner if Smith was elected mayor, officials said.

Halloran was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and participating in a bribery conspiracy.

Halloran, a lifelong Queens resident, was known as an outspoken conservative member of the City Council and was named a "Rising Star" in City & State's 40 Under 40 list. He was elected in 2010 and represents the 19th District.

Vincent Tabone

Vincent Tabone is vice chairman of the Queens County Republican Party. He is accused of taking a  $25,000 bribe in return for supporting Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's bid to run for mayor as a Republican.

Smith would have needed support from three of the city's five county Republican leaders in order to run as a Republican because he is a registered Democrat, and Tabone promised to help in Queens in exchange for cash, prosecutors said.

Tabone, 46, is also an aide to Republican John Catsimatidis, the wealthy Gristedes owner who is running for mayor this fall, working on the campaign and as a lawyer in the real estate department of Red Apple Group since 2008.

Tabone, a Queens resident, was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and participating in a bribery conspiracy.

Joseph Savino

Joseph Savino is chairman of the Bronx County Republican Party. He is accused of taking a $15,000 cash bribe in return for supporting Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's bid to run for mayor as a Republican.

Savino is one of the five Republican county leaders Smith would have had to win over in order to run for mayor on the Republican line because he is a Democrat. Savino promised to help in exchange for the $15,000 up front and the promise of another $15,000 after giving Smith what he needed.

Savino, 45, a Rockland County resident, was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and participating in a bribery conspiracy.

Undercover FBI Agent

An undercover FBI agent posed as a corrupt real estate developer as part of the federal government's investigation into the alleged bribery scheme.

The FBI agent provided cash that was used to bribe Republican county leaders Joseph Savino and Vincent Tabone in return for their support of Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's attempt to run for mayor on the Republican line, authorities said.

The FBI agent also asked for something in return — $80,000 in cash — which City Councilman Dan Halloran, who was allegedly working with Smith, promised to provide by illegally funneling City Council funds to the FBI agent, prosecutors said.

The FBI agent's invented real estate developer was also involved in another piece of the scheme in Spring Valley, N.Y., along with a "confidential witness" who has not been identified, prosecutors said.

The FBI's developer and the confidential witness bribed officials in Spring Valley — Noramie Jasmin, the mayor, and Joseph Desmaret, the deputy mayor — in return for their support for a development project that included a new community center, prosecutors said.

In addition, the FBI agent secured a promise from Smith that Smith would offer state support for roadwork that would benefit the development project, prosecutors said.

Confidential Witness

A confidential witness, whose name has not been released, worked with the undercover FBI agent on the Spring Valley development.

The witness and the FBI agent allegedly bribed Spring Valley officials to get their support for a real estate development that the witness and FBI agent were involved in, prosecutors said.

The witness also paid a $7,500 bribe to City Councilman Dan Halloran after Halloran promised to hire an employee chosen by the witness, prosecutors said. In addition, the witness and the FBI got Halloran to agree to illegally funnel $80,000 in City Council funding to them, prosecutors said. 

John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis, the wealthy founder of the Gristedes grocery chain, is running for mayor as a Republican.

His aide, Vincent Tabone, was arrested Tuesday and was accused of accepting cash bribes in return for helping Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith run for mayor as a Republican.

Catsimatidis, 64, slammed the "culture of corruption" in city and state politics and said his office had cooperated with the investigation.

Catsimatidis gave $3,000 to Tabone in February to help with legal fees, records show.

Joe Lhota

Joe Lhota is the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is running for mayor as a Republican.

Lhota had recently received an important endorsement from the Bronx County Republican Party. The Bronx Republicans are led by Chairman Joseph Savino, who was arrested Tuesday for accepting cash bribes to support Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's attempt to run for mayor as a Republican.

Lhota released a statement Wednesday condemning the alleged actions of Savino, Smith and the four other local officials who were arrested.

Noramie Jasmin

Noramie Jasmin is the mayor of Spring Valley, N.Y.

She is accused of demanding an interest in a major real estate development in her village in exchange for giving the contract for the project to a particular real estate company, which was actually run by an undercover FBI agent.

Jasmin, 49, a Spring Valley resident who was sworn into office in 2009, was arrested Tuesday and charged with mail fraud.

Joseph Desmaret

Joseph Desmaret is deputy mayor of Spring Valley, N.Y.

He is accused of accepting a $10,500 bribe for voting in favor of selling land for a major real estate project to a particular developer, who was actually an undercover FBI agent.

Desmaret, 55, a Spring Valley resident who was sworn into office in 2009, was arrested Tuesday and charged with mail fraud. 

County Chairman 1 and County Chairman 2

County Chairman 1 and County Chairman 2 are two of the five Republican Party county chairmen in New York City. They were both mentioned in the criminal complaint but were not named and have not been accused of wrongdoing.

Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith hoped to win Chairman 1's support on the Republican ticket in the mayor's race, but the chairman had already publicly pledged his support to another candidate, according to court papers.

Smith discussed plans to convince Chairman 1 to switch his loyalties, and City Councilman Dan Halloran also discussed bribing the chairman to get him to support Smith, prosecutors said.

In addition, Halloran and Joseph Savino, chairman of the Bronx Republican Party, had a discussion with an undercover FBI agent about bribing County Chairman 2 to get the chairman to support Smith, according to court papers.

It was not immediately clear if any conversations took place between Chairman 1, Chairman 2, Smith and Halloran.

But the criminal complaint mentions that at least one other county chairman in addition to Savino was on board with the scheme.

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