Prominent Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith and city Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested Tuesday morning in charged by the FBI with planning a wide-ranging plot to rig the New York City mayoral election this fall.
According to the complaint, Smith, Halloran, Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino, and Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, conspired to bribe New York City party officials in order to get Smith’s name on the GOP ballot for mayor.
The FBI probe of the New York officials dates all the way back to August 2011. The FBI used a cooperating witness — as well as an undercover FBI agent — to uncover the plan.
According to the complaint, Smith allegedly agreed with the cooperating witness and FBI agent — who was posing as a wealthy real estate developer — in the plan to bribe New York City officials to get him on the ballot. Savino and Tabone received a total of $40,000 in cash payments and a promise of $40,000 more. In exchange for the bribes, Smith agreed to use his status as a State Senator to obtain state funds for a road project in Spring Valley, N.Y., that the undercover FBI agent said would benefit his real estate company.
For his part in setting up the meetings, Halloran received almost $45,000 in mostly cash payments:
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
The FBI investigation began to reach its peak last November, when Smith met with the undercover agent in a scheme to convince a Republican Party County Chairman — who is not named — to shift his support to Smith.
“You pull this off, you can have the house,” Smith told the undercover agent, according to the complaint. “I’ll be a tenant.”
In January, when the plan was still ongoing, Smith met the cooperating witness in his car in Rockland County. The cooperating witness asked Smith if it was worth “any price” to earn Republican leaders’ support, noting that it would cost a “pretty penny.”
“Look, talk to me before you close it. But it’s worth it. Because you know how big a deal it is,” Smith said, according to the complaint.
That conversation is detailed below:
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York is holding a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. to further unveil the charges.
The full complaint is below:
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