Shortly after he was kicked out of the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference in 2013, people in Albany and Southeast Queens began calling him the man without a party.
Now locked in a primary battle for his political survival and a federal corruption trial restarting in January, state Sen. Malcolm Smith apparently can only watch as every party leader, elected official and natural Democratic constituency group lines up behind former Councilman and Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie.
Phil Ragusa, 74, of Beechhurst, who led the Queens Republican Party for seven years, many of them tumultuous, died Tuesday from leukemia at New York Presybterian Hospital.
Accolades from across the state and farther have poured in about the certified public accountant who took over the helm of the Queens party from former state Sen. Serphin Maltese, who stepped down in 2007.
Former Councilman Dan Halloran, left, will resume trial on federal corruption charges next week. State Sen. Malcolm Smith on Tuesday received a mistrial, and will start again in January.
A federal judge on Tuesday granted state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and former Queens County Republican Party official Vincent Tabone a mistrial on federal corruption and fraud charges.
Judge Kenneth Karas granted the defense motion after learning that a juror on the case would be unable to continue to serve if the trial were delayed a few weeks to allow lawyers for Smith and Tabone to receive and review transcripts of conversations that cooperating government witness Moses Stern had with his rabbi. The conversations, many of which transpired in Yiddish, were picked up by FBI listening devices.
Two Republicans will fight it out at the polls in Tuesday’s primary in hopes of replacing veteran Congressman Steve Israel of the 3rd District.
Stephen Labate, 46, a financial planner from Deer Park, LI, who lost to Israel two years ago with 41.6 percent of the vote, will face Grant Lally, 52, a lawyer from Lloyd Harbor, LI.
A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the corruption trial of State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and co-defendant Vincent Tabone, a former official with the Queens County Republican Party.
Former Councilman Dan Halloran and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) received legal setbacks in federal court this week as the government and defense completed jury selection in their federal corruption trial.
Judge Kenneth Karas denied Halloran’s motion to use an insanity defense tied to surgery the Whitestone Republican had in 2012 to remove a brain tumor.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith, left, and former Councilman Dan Halloran are scheduled to go on trial Monday morning in federal court on corruption charges related to Smith’s alleged attempt to bribe Republicans to let him run for mayor with the GOP.
Barring any last-minute surprises on Friday at a pre-trial conference, jury selection is expected to begin Monday morning in Westchester County in the matter of the United States of America v. Daniel Halloran, Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone.
The three were among six people arrested 14 months ago in an alleged scheme by state Sen. Smith (D-Hollis) to bribe Republican officials in New York City in an effort to get his name on the Republican ballot for mayor in 2013.
The phrase “hurry up and wait” has been prominent in the week since Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) was arrested amid allegations that he stole state grant money and campaign funds.
A spokeswoman for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wills’ next scheduled court date is June 6, but that it is unlikely to deal with anything other than procedural matters.
With one Queens politician being arrested last week and two more set to go on trial in federal court in June, one also is set to be freed from federal custody this month.
The New York Post reported this week that former state Sen. Shirley Huntley will be released from a halfway house at the end of May, 10 months into a 366-day prison sentence for corruption.
City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with a 12-count indictment charging him with stealing state and campaign funds and laying a false paper trail in an attempt to cover up the alleged thefts.
Wills has been charged with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree falsifying business records, and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
Leroy Comrie confirmed the worst-kept secret on Queens politics on Monday when he formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the state’s 14th Senate District, the seat held by embattled Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis).
Comrie, speaking in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said the move was prompted both by people actively urging him to take on Smith, and a bit of homesickness for the hands-on legislative process.
Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie is expected to formally kick off his campaign to unseat state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) this week according to a report published in Monday’s Daily News.
Comrie could not be reached for comment, but said to the Chronicle in a phone conversation last month that he had been “90 percent ready” to run.
The lawyer representing former Queens Republican official Vince Tabone is crying foul over an attempt to oust her firm from representing him.
On Monday, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office asked federal Judge Kenneth Karas to question Tabone on whether he wants to keep his attorneys, Lally & Misir. The office contends that Tabone could be hurting his own defense by using a firm whose lead partner, Grant Lally, is running for Congress against Rep. Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens).
Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie did not exactly deny the gist of a New York Post article claiming he told the paper he is “90 percent ready” to enter a primary against embattled state Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis).
But he would not comment on quotes critical of Smith that the paper said he told a reporter.
Grant Lally, a Republican lawyer from Lloyd Harbor, LI, who announced last month that he will run to oppose Rep. Steve Israel, has been endorsed by the Queens County Conservative Party.
Israel represents parts of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, including Douglaston, Whitestone, Little Neck and Floral Park.
Someone should tell Malcolm Smith that the weather’s warming up and indeed spring is nigh.
The state senator from Hollis seems stuck in wintertime. Maybe the harsh season gave him a bit of cabin fever. Or maybe there’s some other explanation for the oddball fundraising “event” he has planned for March 24.
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.
Democratic reaction to state Sen. Tony Avella’s decision to jump ship and join the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany is officially “disappointment,” but beneath the surface there appears to be anger and a desire for retribution.
Avella, of Bayside, last week joined the now-five-person IDC, which was organized in 2011 and runs the Senate with the Republicans in an unlikely coalition. He indicated he joined in an attempt to pass more legislation and that “at the end of the day, it will be helpful to my district and the Borough of Queens.”
The lawyer who asked that a case involving his client, Vince Tabone, be delayed, saying it would be unfair to Republican candidates seeking office, has thrown his own hat in the ring to oppose Rep. Steve Israel.
Grant Lally, a Republican from Lloyd Harbor, LI, announced last week that he would oppose Congressman Israel for the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and a section of Queens, including Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone and Floral Park.
He’s only been in office for six weeks, but 19th District Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) is already proposing legislation and setting up a student program that could go citywide.
The attorney, son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone and brother to former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), is resurrecting a bill first proposed by then-Councilman Tony Avella to enforce restrictive covenants in neighborhoods. If passed, he believes it will prevent wanton destruction of houses whose owners say they were not aware of the covenants that protects properties in certain neighborhoods.
Dan Halloran and Malcolm Smith could be tried in June. Smith wants to wait until his primary.
Each year, the New York League of Conservation Voters puts out a scorecard that grades all Council members on environmental issues and for the 2012-13 City Council year, Queens had some of the highest scores and the lowest.
The scores are based on voting and sponsorship records on 17 bills that cover recycling, composting, clean energy, biodiversity, transportation, air quality, energy efficiency, resiliency and more.
The lawyer for state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) will ask a federal judge to postpone the senator’s federal corruption trial until after this year’s Democratic primary.
In a hearing in federal court in White Plans on Friday morning, Attorney Gerald Shargel told federal Judge Kenneth Karas that he will submit his request to the court in writing on Feb. 7.