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‘Malcom Smith was bent on becoming mayor’: U.S. Attorney lays out alleged mayoral bribe plot

Posted: 8:01 PM, Apr 02, 2013
Updated: 2013-04-18 16:00:59-04

(NEW YORK CITY) – State Senator Malcolm Smith may have believed he found a shortcut to the top of the NYC political heap.

Instead, Senator Smith is facing decades behind bars after authorities say he was the architect of a corruptive scheme to become the city’s next mayor, “Malcolm Smith was bent on becoming mayor.  He was a Democrat but believed his best shot was to run as a Republican,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

However, Sen. Smith had to overcome the state statute to prevent ballot-hopping known as Wilson Pakula.  Meaning that as a Democrat running for the Republicans, Senator Smith required approval from at least three out of five Republican County Chairmen in order to qualify for the Republican ballot.

To circumvent the vetting process and secure a rapid endorsement,  Senator Smith allegedly decided to grease Republican party bosses in the Bronx and Queens by enlisting two men he believed were developers.   According to the complaint, he told one of them, “You pull this off, you can have the house. I’ll be the tenant.”

After repeated recorded meetings, including some that took place inside of hotel rooms, Smith allegedly can be heard directing the developers on how to make the payoffs happen, because he did not want to “waste a pretty penny.”

Bharara told a packed late-morning news conference that Sen. Smith was quarterbacking the plot throughout, “He allegedly discussed which chairman were susceptible to bribes. How much to pay them in total? How much to pay upfront, versus how much to pay after the deal was done?”

The most important aspect?

Malcom Smith

After repeated recorded meetings, including some that took place inside of hotel rooms, Smith allegedly can be heard directing the developers on how to make the payoffs happen, because he did not want to “waste a pretty penny.”

None of it could traced back to Senator Smith. Bribes had to be sprinkled around in cash.  In all more than $100-dollars changed hands according to the complaint.

Councilman Dan Halloran was also arrested for helping facilitate the bribes.  In section 53 of the complaint, he was recorded saying that he wanted his “mortage situation resolved” and that he expected Senator Smith to appoint him Deputy Police Commissioner if elected.

Additionally, a construction component resulted in the arrests of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Spring Valley.  In all, six were arrested.  “You have all those people circling around, and then of course, you have Malcolm in the middle,” said Bharara.

Senator Smith tweeted a few days ago that his theme for the week was “to tell the truth.” Last summer Senator Smith referenced party lines to PIX 11 News Marvin Scott as he discussed Gracie Mansion, “I believe that you know the next mayor for this city is not running based on if you’re Democrat or Republican.”

As expected, there was only silence at the office of Sen. Smith in Queens.