2010-11-03 / Political Page

Unanswered Questions About Bloomberg-Haggerty $1.1 M Deal

As we come to the end of another election cycle, with Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo promising major changes in Albany, our attention was drawn last week to events which had occurred at the end of the 2009 election, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg won an historic third term.

We didn’t know it then, but we do now, that as the 2009 election was drawing to a close, the mayor on Oct. 28, 2009 and senior aides “huddled with Republican campaign consultant John Haggerty Jr. six days before the election to discuss a ballot security drive drawn up by Haggerty, according to the N.Y. Post’s report about Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

In return for that ballot security drive, Vance said Haggerty admitted, the mayor eventually paid him $1.1 million.

The funds were relayed to Haggerty through the state Independence Party. According to Vance’s office, Haggerty did not use the funds for the poll watching job, as promised. Instead he used the money to purchase his late father’s home in exclusive Forest Hills Gardens.

Haggerty also admitted to prosecutors that he had lied and misled the Bloomberg campaign about conducting the campaign security job or about using the cash for private purposes.

Haggerty was indicted by Vance’s office on charges of grand larceny and money laundering growing out of the receipt of the $1.1 million he got from the mayor. He is awaiting trial on those charges.

Since it was first revealed that Haggerty received the million bucks from the mayor and may not have performed the work he promised, the mayor has not shown any interest in trying to recover the money.

Neither has the mayor made a move in that direction, despite being told by Vance that Haggerty admitted he never intended to spend the cash for any campaign security job and, in effect, conned the mayor into giving him the $1.1 million.

This doesn’t surprise us. Either the mayor isn’t going to try to retrieve the money, which is really merely a pittance to the multibillionaire mayor, even though he knows Haggerty never had any intention of doing what he promised to do.

Or maybe the mayor knowingly gave Haggerty the money for some other reason, maybe Haggerty told him right up front what it was for and the mayor said, “O.K., you’ve worked hard for me in the past, so here’s the dough.”

On second thought, that’s reason enough why the mayor could have given him $1.1 million, but then the mayor wouldn’t have given it to him through his campaign account because that wouldn’t be a valid reason for using campaign funds.

But even though he gave Haggerty the money for the reasons stated, and through the Independence Party even Vance reportedly has said none of this is any reason for pursuing the issue. So I guess we’ll never know what the mayor thinks of this whole mess.

Maybe there will be some further disclosures that might come out when Haggerty’s case comes up for trial, if it ever does, because so many cases these days, no matter how serious they sound, wind up as plea deals.

We should also be on the alert to see whether anything develops out of the work Haggerty did for Carl Paladino during his campaign. Bloomberg and Paladino have one thing in common, both have lots of money, but both have very different temperaments.

Paladino doesn’t look like someone who would work out a deal for $1.1 million and then do nothing if the money was paid and the deal’s terms weren’t satisfied. What would Paladino do in that case? That would be very interesting to see.

MAYOR, STREEP TEAM UP: On a more pleasant note, the mayor will co-star with Oscar award winning actress Meryl Streep Monday evening to host the Mayor’s Awards for Arts & Culture at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.

Among the awards recipients will be Amy Fischetti-Boncardo, executive director of the Queens County Farm Museum in Little Neck.

“The awards give us a chance to recognize the achievements of some of the people who make extraordinary contributions to culture in the five boroughs,” the mayor said.

RUDY’S BACK AT CITY HALL— TO STAY: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who during his two-term reign, earned the sobriquet of America’s Mayor” for his gallant work on 9/11, had his portrait hung in City Hall last week as an honor bestowed on all former mayors.

To us, the outstanding feature of the portrait is his confident and friendly smile. He flashed it most of the time when he was in office and that’s the way people should remember him.

Giuliani lost it for a while following his disastrous misadventure in the 2008 campaign for the presidential nomination. He got off to a slow and shaky start and then really crumbled after “Super Tuesday”, the day when presidential primaries were scheduled at various states around the country.

Giuliani had not gotten involved in many primaries that took place before that “super” day, so he had little momentum going into that special day, during which he hoped to come out as one of the presidential hopeful leaders of the Republican pack in the country. He didn’t unfortunately and after failing to make a good showing in subsequent primaries, he dropped out of the race.

As for his future as a possible presidential aspirant, he hasn’t shown as much of a national presence as he had made before the 2008 race, so we don’t know what 2012 holds for him. Maybe he’ll surprise us and become an entrant in the GOP field.

$5M FOR STUDY OF 9/11 ILLS: Congressmember Carolyn Maloney applauded and welcomed the Obama administration’s release of $4.9 million for a continuing study and survey of the health of former workers at Ground Zero in the post-9/11 period.

Speaking of the release of funds to complete the third of three planned health surveys of the more than 71,000 people in the World Trade Center Health Registry for a look at the risk of cancers, Maloney stated:

“Its good news that the administration has released the funds to complete a third wave study of the health effects of the 9/11 attacks and to determine whether 9/11 responders and survivors are facing an increase in cancers, as is the concern of many in the medical community.”

Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan), a coauthor of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, added, Updating our information on 9/11 health conditions will enable doctors to deliver the best possible care to those who lost their health because of the toxins at Ground Zero.

FERRERAS EYES STREET HARASSMENT: “Street harassment is sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces,” City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras (D–Corona), chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, in opening a public hearing at City Hall last week said.

Ferreras added, that the behaviors involved can include catcalling, whistling, horn honking, suggestive and sexual comments and even unwanted groping or touching. The perpetrators are usually males and the victims are generally female.

Ferreras described the street harassment as depraved and her objective was to create an environment where women and girls would no longer have to adopt a veil of caution when they want to do something as basic as walk down the street.

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