Delegating Authority

As McCain and Romney fight for the nomination, New York’s G.O.P. has a lot to lose

There are plenty of eyebrow-raising delegates on Giuliani's slate as well. Former Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari is a co-chair of the state Giuliani committee. He and his lobbying partner, Robert Scamardella, are running for delegate and alternate despite the fact that they represented Interstate Industrial, the allegedly mob-tied company at the very center of the Bernie Kerik scandal. So is Jonathan Ballan, the longtime law partner of Liberal Party boss Ray Harding, whose son Russell was convicted of looting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city agency he ran. Charles Moerdler, a prominent city lawyer who manages the firm that represented former Bronx Democratic boss Stanley Friedman in the case that propelled Giuliani to the mayoralty, is also a delegate. So is John Kiernan, a partner at the lobbying firm demonized by Giuliani as a mayoral candidate.

Fred Brown, a Bronx delegate for Giuliani and former school-board member, was convicted of using the school district's printing press to produce a 100-page political journal in the '80s. Asked by the Voice about the 13 liens and judgments against him totaling more than $100,430—including three from the IRS for $32,986—Brown said he didn't know what they were about, adding that he was scheduled "to meet with the IRS in February." Brown conceded that he lives at 355 South End Avenue in Battery Park City, even though he is running as a delegate from the address he's registered at in the Bronx. "My [previous] apartment at 375 South End was destroyed on 9/11," he explained.

Brown was awarded substantial compensation by the politically wired New York State Crime Victims Board for injuries he claimed to have sustained fleeing his apartment on 9/11. A source close to the board told the iVoice that Brown was compensated for mental trauma. Without denying that he'd received counseling for trauma, the 72-year-old Brown insisted that he also suffered physical injury, saying that he "ran beyond my endurance" and that his "leg muscle locked." He said he was "dodging body parts" and that a woman "running with me died"—precisely what the source says he cited to explain his trauma. "I'm still on blood-pressure medication," he added. "I don't remember how much I was paid." The New York State Crime Victims Board—which was then chaired by Joan Cusack, the longtime companion of Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro—said it couldn't release the particulars of any individual case.

Brown is one of several Bronx delegates of questionable pedigree. Another is county chair Jay Savino, whose father was convicted by Giuliani when he was a prosecutor. Last year, the city's Department of Investigation launched a probe of Savino and other Bronx GOP players, even raiding the Board of Elections, where Savino had been a commissioner. One of the charges still under investigation involves patronage practices at the board, where Savino engineered a job for his college fraternity brother (and sometime Sopranos mobster) Anthony Ribustello, a Giuliani alternate.

Mario Bruno, a Molinari sidekick who held several posts in the Giuliani administration, is the Giuliani campaign's New York State executive director, running the operation statewide. In 2004, the city settled a lawsuit and paid $140,000 to a former staffer who had worked under Bruno, and who alleged that at a 2000 staff meeting—while Giuliani was mayor—she accused Bruno of improperly planning to use a million-dollar grant for "partisan political purposes, including campaigning for Republican candidates." He admitted that he told her, "If you fuck with me, I will burn your house down and knock up your dog." Bruno later said that he was just joking.

Giuliani also has as many relatives on his delegates list—cousin Irene Halligan and uncle Rudolph V. Giuliani—as he does 9/11 survivors: Elizabeth Hatton, his executive assistant for decades, whose firefighter husband died during the attack, and Ken Haskell, whose two brothers also perished. A firefighter like his brothers, Haskell has been quoted in news accounts responding to the many attacks on Giuliani. But these reports haven't mentioned that Haskell is also on the payroll of Long Island congressman Peter King, a top Giuliani spokesman and "homeland security advisor" for his campaign.

Even Tom Ognibene is a Giuliani delegate, though the former city councilman ran against Mike Bloomberg in 2005, blasting him as a "hypocrite." Ognibene claimed in one debate that Bloomberg was not an "honorable" man, and his presence as a Giuliani delegate suggests that the ties between the two mayors have finally frayed.

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