A Queens political consultant Monday was indicted for allegedly stealing more than a million dollars from Mayor Mike Bloomberg during Bloomberg’s reelection campaign last year.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., John Haggerty Jr., a volunteer with the Bloomberg campaign, pilfered $1.1 million by telling workers and agents that he needed the money for Election Day ballot security and poll watching. Instead, Vance said, Haggerty steered more than half of the funds toward the purchase of a home in Forest Hills. The Daily News reported that Haggerty used $600,000 to buy out his brother Bart’s share of their late father Jack’s house.
Vance said Bloomberg paid the Independence Party for Haggerty’s services. Haggerty, on Dec. 3, 2009, allegedly set up Special Election Operations, LLC, a month after the mayoral election. On Dec. 11, the party wired $750,000 of the money it received from Bloomberg to SEO.
Haggerty tried to get away with the alleged scheme by presenting a campaign representative with bogus paychecks for poll watchers.
Vance indicated that neither Bloomberg nor his staff were aware of the existence of SEO. The mayor’s office did not return calls seeking comment on the indictment.
Haggerty is charged with first-degree grand larceny, second-degree money laundering and three counts of first-degree falsifying business records, all felonies.
SEO is listed on the indictment as a defendant, and Vance announced the filing of a civil forfeiture action against Haggerty and SEO seeking forfeiture of assets in the amount of $1.1 million and the seizure of Haggerty’s home on Greenway Avenue North in Forest Hills, which Vance said he purchased with stolen money.
“Haggerty grossly abused his position within the campaign that trusted him with important matters,” Vance said. “At a time when the public is particularly distrusting about our state government processes, his use of a shell company to conceal his involvement from the public simply further breeds cynicism.”
The Haggerty family has a long history with Republican politics in Queens. Jack was an attorney and chief counsel to former state Senate Majority Leader Warren Anderson. Currently, Bart is chief of staff to City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). Both brothers have been county committeemen.
The Queens County Republican Party often has been at odds with the Haggerty brothers. A borough GOP activist called John a “perennial thorn in our side” and “nothing but trouble.”
“Whoever [the party] endorsed, he would go to the other side just to leverage a pay day — that’s a crook,” the activist said. “Even most of the party old-timers have lost their patience with him.”
Though QGOP Chairman Phil Ragusa called John Haggerty’s situation “sad,” he labeled the brothers “grifters and gadflies” who have a history of betraying friendships and principles.
“We’ve been saying for years that they are given to filing frivolous or even false instruments but no one seemed to listen,” Ragusa said. “It finally caught up with them. ”
Haggerty is scheduled to appear in New York Supreme Court on July 29.