Tag Archives: political corruption

A New York Story: Senator Found Not Innocent But Not Guilty

Bookmark and Share   On his New York State Senate Web site the top story his office offers reads “Senator Monserrate Celebrates Central American Culture and Heritage in Corona, NY”. It’s not exactly an intriguing or compelling story about courageous or innovative leadership that tackles any of the problems facing troubled New Yorkers but it is a much less controversial read than “Senator Monserrate Awaits His Fates After Slashing Girlfriend In Face”. But perhaps it is the safest story to highlight when you have little in the way of meaningful political accomplishments and you actually are waiting to here a verdict in a case where you are accused of slashing your girlfriend in the face and dragging her around the streets of New York as she cries and bleeds.

092209_hirammonserrate_emk07.JPGSuch is how Queens, New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate has spent his day until at about 3;45 this afternoon a judge stated that Monserrate was not innocent but he was found “not guilty” of the most serious charges against but guilty of lesser charges.

Based on the slashing accusations outlined above, a grand jury charged Monserrate on three counts of felony assault on his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. He was originally arrested for the incident on December 19, 2008 and later that same day, pled not guilty to the charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon along with three counts of misdemeanor assault.

The incident apparently involved an argument between Monserrate and Giraldo that took place in in his Queens apartment. Originally Karla Giraldo reported to police that Senator Monserrate was intentionally responsible for acts that ultimately cut her under the eye with broken glass. Giraldo later recanted her story and claimed that it was all an accident. From that point on, she became an uncooperative witness in the case. As for Senator Monserrate, in an official public statement he said “Listen, the reality is that from the very beginning I have said this was an accident. My girlfriend said it’s an accident. This is an accident and we look forward to the dismissal of all these charges based on the truth”.

As the case proceeded, Monserrate waived his right to a trial by jury. According to his attorney, Joe Toccapina, a jury consultant and polls revealed to him that Senator. Monserrate could not get a fair trial before a jury anywhere in the state. The move only raised doubt about what was really going on behind the scenes especially since the judge ultimately deciding Monserrates’s fate is Justice William M. Erlbaum of State Supreme Court in Queens. Before even going to trial, Erlbaum has been making procedural rulings that have all gone against the Senator. Yet Monserrrate and his defense still preferred their chances with one judge as opposed to their chances with a jury of 12.

Monserrate's Victim/Girlfriend Karla Giraldo

Monserrate's Victim/Girlfriend Karla Giraldo

With none of the court related details in the case public as of yet, it was hard to tell if the initial story that Karla Giraldo would be considered more true than her retraction. After making herself an uncooperative witness, she had to be subpoenaed into court and forced to appear in court. Being what could be considered a hostile witness, any attempts to explain her initial claims that Moneratte assaulted her could have possibly been not be taken at face value but even more than Giraldo’s changing testimony was video that was placed into evidence in the matter.

Surveillance cameras in the Senator’s apartment building, caught Monserrate and Giraldo on the night of the incident in question. On it Giraldo is seen crying and fleeing down a staircase, with Monserrate rapidly coming down behind. As Giraldo comes off the stairs she begins knocking on a neighbors door at the bottom of the steps. Next thing you see is Monserrate yanking her away and whisking her off. The cameras then catch a struggling Giraldo losing a bag that gets caught on a banister and as it falls to the floor, Monserrate continues to pull her to an exit and outside of its doors. The video evidence continues as exterior surveillance cameras then catch Senator Monserrate tightly holding on to Giraldo and pushing and prodding her down the street outside of his apartment as she cries.

The tape did not necessarily provide all that is needed to make an airtight conviction here, but it was enough for  Judge Erlbaum to find Monserrate guilty of reckless injuring Giraldo.  According to Erlbaum, it was obvious that Giraldo was not someone being willingly escorted out of the building and down the street.  The reckless injury is considered a misdemeanor.

A neighbor who was called as wittness in the case had testified that he had a very loud and raucos fight on the night of the event,  but faced with Monserrate and Giraldo’s statements in court, Judge Erlbaum could still not convict the Senator of the most severe charges in the case. 

The judges decision could have put Monserrate behind bars for as much as seven years in prison if he found him guilty of assault.   That meant that Senator Monserrate was not alone in his intense interest in the verdict. New York Democrats also awaited to see if they had to continue contending with the combative, loose cannon that Monserrate tends to be. Many would not have minded seeing a decision of guilt in the case.  Had he been found guilty, legislative rules would have required his immediate expulsion, a result that would havel pleased some of his legislative colleagues.

Not long ago Monserastte and one other Democrat Senator joined together in a move that paralyzed the New State legislature. Attempts to remove the then leader of the senate, a Democrat, Monserrate and State Senator Espada switched to join with Republicans and provided an even split which created a deadlock that could not be broken. The impasse was further cemented due to the fact that there was no Lieutenant Governor who could provide a tie breaking vote. When Governor Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign amid scandal, then Lt. Governor David Paterson became Governor Paterson, thereby creating a vacancy in the LG position.

There were no existing procedures to replace someone in the job and when David Patterson tried to appoint someone, members of the state senate challenged the action in state court.

Since then the courts have determined that Paterson could legally appoint someone to the seat but at the time, Monserrate’s escapades helped to stop all business from being conducted due to the deadlock that he created all because he did not like the democrat Senate Leader.

The episode left a bad taste in many Democrat’s mouths and wouldn’t mind seeing Monserrate eliminated as a player in state government. This is especially the case since there is no risk of Monerserrate’s senate seat falling into Republican hands. The district is solidly Democrat. So much so that if they decided to run Rod Blagojevic for the job, he would be a shoo-in.

Having been found not guilty, state business marches on with an incompetent Governor, an inepot state assembly and a corrupt and ridiculously ineffective state senate that now has a leader who is described as a “thoroughly undistinguished legislator”, whose major claim to fame is that he once tried to block a District Attorney from prosecuting a Democrat Assemblyman and Democrat Party County Chairman on charges of corruption.

All of this allows us to draw a very appropriate comparisson  between the charges that once surrounded Senator Hiram Moneserrate and his once alleged abused girlfriend Karla Giraldo. Monserrate is very representatives of New York State government and Giraldo represents the citizens of the state.  Just as Giraldo was originally seen as being beaten up by Monserrate, the citizens of New York are being beaten down by state government. The only difference is that Monserrate could have been  punished if he was found to have assaulted his girlfriend while the New York State legislature is not likely to be punished anytime soon for their assault in the quality of life of New Yorkers.

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Wrangling Rangle While Exploring Liberal Hypocrisy and The Democrat-Media Complex

By POLITICS 24/7 guest blogger Michael Duminiak
mikewithdogsBookmark and Share   Oh Charlie, what can’t you do? You’ve told your constituents to shut up and mind their own business on tape when they questioned you. You’ve battled an ethics probe for over a year and still hold the Chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Just tell us you drove your car off a bridge killing a mistress and we’ll canonize you.

There are times when I almost wish I were a Democrat. Ah, the simplicity of the left. If a Republican so much as toasts a hundred year old man, call for his resignation. If, on the other hand, a Democrat calls someone a “nigger” – name something after him. If a Republican has an affair, scream for his resignation or impeachment. If, on the other hand, a Democrat has an affair and lies about it in court committing perjury, attack those who exposed him. If a mikesblogRepublican lies on his tax forms, he should go to prison. If on the other hand, a Democrat lies on his tax forms you can appoint him to Secretary of the Treasury or head of the House Committee in charge of tax law. If a Republican goes to jail for felony crimes, his career is over. If, on the other hand, a Democrat spends seven years in federal prison for felony crimes, he gets an appreciation dinner and support to get back into politics. If I ever decided to be a sleazy, no good, felonious, adulterous racist, I’d join the Democrats where such attributes gain praise.

If it weren’t all true, it would be funny. Instead, it is evidence of a political/media structure so completely deranged that we have good reason to be truly fearful. The subjective and relativistic morality preached by the left is their ‘get out of jail free’ card. They can hold the conservatives to their own standards (and rightly so), but then hold themselves to no concrete standard at all. Instead, Democrats lament the felony convictions of fellow Democrats and talk about all the good that crook had done. It’s like the mothers of murderers who say, “he was such a nice boy”.

Pointing out this serious problem of the Democrat-Media Complex only serves to make whoever points it out into the punching bag of the leftist mobs. Rather than admit to their own problems, they throw the mistakes of Republicans as examples that neither side is clean. They miss the point. Neither side is clean, but at least the Republicans take out their own garbage when they find it. The Democrats try to cover theirs in perfume and flowers and pretend it doesn’t stink.

When the left decides to hold their own crooks to account, maybe then I’ll have some respect for them. Until then, they’re just a bunch of boobs.

posted by mduminiak at 10:29 AM

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So a Rabbi, a Mayor, and a Real Estate Developer Walk Into a New Jersey Diner……..

Bookmark and Share   After that, all hell breaks loose as on the morning of July 23rd, over 200 federal agents swept across New York and JerseyCorruptionNew Jersey to round up 44 miscreants who were fire inspectors, city planning officials, utilities officials, real estate developers, political operatives, philanthropists, rabbi’s, assemblymen, mayor’s and gubernatorial cabinet officials.

Years of criminal investigation culminated in the discovery of a tangled web of corruption that included the laundering of tens of millions of dollars through Jewish charities controlled by rabbis in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Deal, N.J., the trafficking of kidneys and fake Gucci handbags and tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to public officials that were meant to get approvals for buildings and other projects in New Jersey.

The key to the arrests was Solomon Dwek, a 36-year-old religious-school head and philanthropist from Monmouth County, N.J., who became a cooperating witness after being charged with defrauding PNC Bank by writing a bad check for $25 million in 2006.

From that point on Dwek was wired, videotaped and followed by F.B.I. agents in a plot straight out of The Soprano’s. On those F.B.I. recordings are such gems as Mr. Dwek stating to one money-launderer that he had “at least $100,000 a month coming from money I ‘schnookied’ from banks for bad loans.” In another tape Dwek is seen giving another coconspirator a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000 cash for a few political favors in return.

Some of the most high profile thugs rounded up were the New Jersey mayors of Ridgefield, Secaucus and Hoboken, Jersey City’s deputy mayor and two state assemblymen.

A former state senate leader and now member of New Jersey Governor Corzine’s cabinet was also implicated and forced to resign after F.B.I officials searched his home in connection to the still unfolding scandal.

All but one of the officeholders are Democrats. The lone Republican is Dan Van Pelt, a double dipping, dual office holder who serves as the mayor of Ocean Township, NJ. and an assemblyman in the state legislature. Republicans throughout the state called for his immediate resignation from both public offices. A call to his office for a reaction was answered by a woman who calmly said “Mr. Van Pelt was arrested today and is out of the office.”

Now that’s New Jersey!

The most conspicuous of all to have been rounded up so far is the Democrat mayor of Hoboken, Peter Cammarano.

Cammarano just took office on July 1st after winning a cantankerous runoff election and despite the efforts of those officials in Hoboken who have not been arrested, Cammarano refuses to resign. After all he just got the job.

On tape, Mr. Cammarano was caught accepting $25,000 in cash bribes from Solomon Dwek in exchange for expediting zoning changes and pushing through approval of building plans. After the money exchanges hands he tells Dwek “you can put your faith in me” and that “I promise you…you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be treated like a friend.” But along the way other embarrassing statements are overheard. At one point, while talking about his chances of winning what, at the time, was his upcoming mayoral race, Cammarano’s cocky bravado compelled him to declare “right now, the Italians, the Hispanics, the seniors are locked down. Nothing can change that now. . . . I could be, uh, indicted, and I’m still gonna win 85 to 95 percent of those populations”. In another very Mafioso-like moment, Cammarano is caught talking about payback for those who were not with him in the election.

None of this is helping Governor Corzine or the image of Democrats who lined up behind the new Hoboken mayor as he was sworn into office. There, U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez as well as Governor Corzine proudly embraced the 32 year old rising Democrat star with warm embraces and glowing praise.

The whole situation has produced an incredibly embarrassing state of affairs for Corzine who ran New Jersey into the ground after taking office almost four years ago and, among other things, promised to quash corruption. After seeing more than 130 public officials plead guilty or get convicted of corruption since 2001, the arrest of 43 Democrats and 1 Republican, at one time, has proven that Corzine did little to achieve that goal.

Like everything else he promised, including getting the state budget under control, Corzine has been a disastrous failure and this monumental size corruption spectacle just hammers that point harder than ever.

But aside from the increased sour impressions that this newest saga creates, is has disabled a a good portion of the Hudson County Democratic political machine and severely handicapped Corzine‘s chances to win reelection with his major campaign theme which consists of repeating Barack Obama’s name and reminding people that he belongs to the same party that the President belongs to.

Hoboken is one of the largest cities in Hudson Country and Corzine’s home town . Hudson County is one of the most heavily Democrat counties in the state and is the crown jewel of the Governor’s base of support and source of the political engine that runs Corzine’s Get-Out-The-Vote operation.

In this recent historic corruption sweep, 19 of those rounded up were Hudson County officials and operatives. All of which were gearing up to pump out the vote for Corzine in November.

Now they are otherwise occupied in criminal court.

One of these 19 is Jack Shaw, a professional politician that has strong ties and influence with unions on Corzine‘s behalf. Another arrested member of the Corzine cabal is Joseph Cardwell, an operative famous for his coordination of African-American voters, a vote so crucial to Corzine‘s reelection that, without success, he begged the new rising political star, Cory Booker, an African-American mayor of New Jersey‘s largest city, to be his Lieutenant Governor.

All of this has placed the decapitated head of a horse on the pillow of Corzine’s deathbed reelection effort that signifies things to come.

The Governor is already running about ten percent behind his chief rival, Republican Chris Christie, and the prevalent political corruption that has been flourishing among Corzine’s political network is neatly countered by the fact that as the state’s former U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie is the most high profile and successful crime buster that New Jersey’s has ever seen. This naturally compensating aspect of Chris Christie’s candidacy is just another nail in Corzine’s political coffin. That and the fact that you have key Corzine campaigners handcuffed, record high unemployment, a decimated business environment and the highest tax burden in the nation, all adds up to his defeat in November.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that the 44 recent and dramatic malfeasances that were linked together and exposed on just one sunny, summer, New Jersey morning, have officially made New Jersey the most politically corrupt state in the nation. It has also made it very clear that New Jerseyans can not trust anyone in government who asks for their support or whom they seek assistance from or discuss issues with. And to make matters worse, this criminal investigation is still ongoing. I fully expect Governor Corzine to, at some point, be implicated himself, for tampering with the case and trying to have the arrests delayed until after the election when news of the scandal could not effect his chances for reelection.

The whole ugly, unfolding, situation is simply a travesty and cry for change. Not just in New Jersey but in politics and public service in general. It makes it quite obvious that something has to give here and it can’t be the voters. They have already given too much in freedom, taxes, patience and quality of life.

But that assessment begs the question, what must give? What must and can we do? It also leads one to wonder if the systemic corruption that exists in public service is simply a byproduct of politics or is it beyond politics and just a part of human nature?

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