It’s been two years since former City Councilman Dennis Gallagher was forced to resign his seat representing the 30th Council District as part of a plea agreement with the Queens District Attorney’s Office after he was accused in the summer of 2007 of sexually assaulting a Middle Village woman.
Gallagher eventually copped to misdemeanor forcible touching and sexual abuse. He stepped down in 2008 from the council after seven years in office and attended a mandatory alcohol counseling program.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) now represents the residents of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.
Since he resigned, Gallagher, a Middle Village resident and father of two boys in college, has conscientiously kept a low public profile. In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle last week, he detailed his family-focused life outside the scandal-drenched spotlight. Gallagher works for a national insurance company and continues to sell vintage collectibles and memorabilia, a business his father started.
“The idea of putting in a nice, hard day’s work and coming home to dinner with the family is something I’ve come to relish and enjoy,” Gallagher said, adding that keeping himself and his family out of the public eye has been a priority.
“I could never see myself again running for public office,” he confidently declared. “When you go into politics and government, it takes a lot of time out of your life.”
But the Republican has not completely exited the political arena. Gallagher has remained a volunteer consultant to Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) after helping the pharmacy magnate in November win the District 20 seat vacated by Democrat John Liu, who is now city comptroller.
“Dennis is a friend and was a great asset to the campaign,” said James McClelland, Koo’s press secretary.
Gallagher explained that he helped devise Koo’s campaign strategy, briefed him on legislative issues and aided in his transition into office.
“I respect and admire Peter Koo for giving me an opportunity,” Gallagher said. “I’ve always been impressed with him. His story is the story of the American dream. Somebody like that is a symbol of what the Republican Party should be looking for.”
Gallagher said he still keeps in touch with several colleagues on the City Council and in the local and state GOP.
“These types of friendships span beyond politics,” he asserted.
While he doesn’t follow the city political scene as closely as he used to, Gallagher was quick to point to burgeoning leaders like Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) as future fixtures in municipal government.
“He’s a very impressive young legislator who has grown into the role better than anyone could’ve anticipated,” Gallagher gushed.
Gallagher said he stays informed of the civic events and issues of Middle Village and surrounding communities. He admitted that he misses “the activism and involvement with the community more than the elected role,” and that he’s looking forward to sharing his political expertise.
“I’d like to do, somewhere down the line, political consulting of some sort, but not full time, though,” Gallagher concluded.