Halloran/Smith Scandal Quickly Becomes Latest Mayoral Drama for Quinn


As you may have heard yesterday, City Councilman Dan “America’s Top Heathen” Halloran is in a whole lot of trouble.

Along with state Senator Malcolm Smith, the two were involved in a rigging scheme that planned to posit Smith as a Democrat switching over to the Republican side to run for mayor of New York. We’re talking bribery, envelopes filled with a whole ton of cash, real estate tycoons’ funds, and your classic FBI mole. So mark it down as the archetypal tale of New York City corruption.

And, of course, it happened during an election year, which begs the question: who’s the closest indirect candidate to this story? Well, Halloran was a fan of Joe Lhota and one of the linked schemers was an advisor to John Catsimatidis and even served as counsel for his company, Gristedes.

But, besides that, being the head of the council that Halloran called home for a few years home has provided more than enough flak for many of Christine Quinn’s Democratic rivals.

In separate press releases, the campaigns of former mayoral competitor Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Councilman Sal Albanese’s campaign high-fived one another with accusations of oversight malfunction on behalf of Christine Quinn’s body politic.

The statements pointed to a history of slush fund scandal under the speaker, their chastisement driven in large part by the profile of Quinn this week in The New York Times. In that profile, it was reported that she was holding back council member retributions for her own gain à la Bloomberg.

Thompson: “These most recent developments are the latest in a history of corruption and a broken system that, despite claims to the contrary, has clearly not been adequately reformed under the speaker’s leadership.”

De Blasio: “We’ve heard reports that discretionary funds were used to punish Council Members for political purposes. We’ve even seen some council members go to jail for illegally using these funds. The system is clearly broken, and it’s time for real reform.”

Naturally, the Quinn camp isn’t taking these charges too kindly. In an e-mail to the Observer, spokesperson Jamie McShane called the attacks “the height of political opportunism” and “mudslinging of the worst kind.” Using a government watchdog group known as Citizens Union for support, he argued that Quinn’s proposed reforms would have stopped all of this from happening.

But it did happen. And it is an election year. Better suit up for the mud, Quinn, because these guys are just getting started.