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Queens Chronicle

Malcolm Smith re-election campaign seeks green (fees)

Senator’s campaign site pushes a ‘virtual golf outing’ fundraiser

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Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 5:18 am, Wed Dec 24, 2014.

You are cordially invited to more than nine hours of golf in the outdoors, in the company of and in honor of state Sen. Malcolm Smith.

Sort of.

Smith (D-Hollis) is slated to be the beneficiary of a “virtual golf outing” being promoted as a campaign fundraiser.

The website malcolmforny.com, run by the senator’s re-election committee, is advertising the event, but not saying exactly what it is.

What is known is that it will take place on March 24 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. But the site does not offer a location or an address.

It does not stipulate that Smith’s St. Albans campaign office will have some sort of Wii device or any sort of simulator that would allow donors to swat virtual golf balls into a screen.

What is on the site is the cost, which sets different sponsorship levels like most conventional, terrestrial golf fundraisers.

Unlike regular golf outings, the cost goes up as one’s group increases in size.

An individual tee-sign/friend-level backer will be charged $100. A twosome/host arrangement will cost $250. Got a foursome and want a “sponsor designation”? It will cost $500.

The registration form also includes a panoramic photo of a rolling golf course, a website and phone number, and boxes to check off if one wants to volunteer with or donate to Smith’s re-election campaign.

Golf Digest also is reporting that Smith in 2008 planned a golf outing with 75 lobbyists that was rained out.

Smith, according to the article, allegedly told them that they should consider the money to be a contribution to his campaign.

Smith’s campaign did not return a phone message asking for the number of responses, where the event would take place or whether contributions could be made with the Bitcoin virtual currency.

But he probably can use the cash, with two announced challengers within the Democratic party. And his re-election in November is not his only financial concern.

New York State regulations allow candidates to use campaign funds to pay legal expenses, and both Smith and former City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) are scheduled to go on trial on June 2 on federal corruption charges stemming from allegations that Smith attempted to bribe his way onto the Republican ballot for the New York City mayoral race last year.

And with just over $23,000 left in his campaign coffers as of January’s filings with the state, Smith has retained Gerald Shargel, a criminal defense lawyer of national reputation — and likely with fees to match.

Halloran and former Queens County Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone are scheduled to go on trial with Smith at the federal courthouse in White Plains.

Federal Judge Kenneth Karas recently denied a request by Smith’s defense team to move the trial date until after this year’s Democratic primary; and one from Tabone’s lawyers to put it off until after the November general elections.

It subsequently came out that Tabone’s former lead attorney, Grant Lally, would be seeking the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District.

Court officials said Noramie Jasmin, the former mayor of upstate Spring Valley, NY, will stand trial separately after the Smith-Halloran proceedings.

Two other co-defendants, former Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret and former Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph Savino, already have pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Savino’s plea deal stipulates that he will cooperate with prosecutors.

Smith’s legal troubles have brought two announced challengers — Queens attorneys Clyde Vanel and Munir Avery — to announce their candidacies.

Queens Democrats, believed to be interested in defeating Smith in a primary, also are thought to be interested in Deputy Borough President and former 12-year Councilman Leroy Comrie.

Comrie on Monday would tell the Chronicle only that he is busy at his current job.

A Democratic source told the Chronicle that Community Board 13 Chairman Bryan Block also is subject of party speculation. Block has repeatedly denied comment.

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1 comment:

  • CleanUpJamaicaQueens posted at 2:32 pm on Thu, Mar 13, 2014.

    CleanUpJamaicaQueens Posts: 121

    I don't see how crooked Smith could possibly win this race, but then Jamaica has so many idiots that would vote for this crook.

    It is a no brainer folks. Don't vote for Malcolm Smith.