Today’s news:

Questions Abound in Haggerty Mess

The case of John Haggerty Jr. raises questions about the health of the Republican Party in New York state and its relationship with the state Independence Party.

Haggerty is a political operative from Forest Hills. The Manhattan district attorney has charged Haggerty with stealing more than a million dollars from the personal funds of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance claims $1.1 million was funneled by Bloomberg to Haggerty through the Independence Party. The money was to pay for poll watching and ballot security operations.

Channeling the money through the Independence Party was not illegal, but Vance said Haggerty did not poll watch on Election Day and contended that at least $600,000 of those funds were spent on personal items and to buy the Forest Hills Gardens home from the estate of his late father, Conservative Party Chairman John Haggerty Sr.

Haggerty is innocent until proven guilty, but the evidence against him seems damning. What is unclear is why the Bloomberg campaign chose to “funnel” the money through the Independence Party. And why spend a million dollars to watch the polls on Election Day? Was His Honor afraid he would be the victim of voter fraud? His re-election never appeared to be at risk and it is not likely he will run for another elective office.

Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa told TimesLedger Newspapers he warned the mayor not to deal with Haggerty. Haggerty and his brother have been fighting unsuccessfully with Ragusa for control of the Queens GOP. Ragusa is miffed the mayor went directly to Haggerty rather than working through the Republican Party in each county.

There are more questions than answers. Why did the Haggertys try to gain control of the Queens GOP? Why did the mayor decide to pay Haggerty through the back door? Why spend more than a million dollars on Election Day when the outcome was not in doubt? Did Haggerty expect no one would ask him how he spent $1.1 million? Did he produce fake checks?

And who dropped a dime on Haggerty?

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