Today’s news:

Gallagher’s son circulates flier on Bart Haggerty

A mailer linking Republican district leader Bart Haggerty to his brother John’s alleged $1.1 million theft of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s money has hit the streets of Forest Hills, with Haggerty claiming the literature in the district leader race is a low blow.

Patrick Gallagher, son of former City Councilman Dennis Gallagher, who resigned from the Council in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to forcible touching and sex abuse in a case where he was accused of sexually assaulting a 52-year-old grandmother, is challenging Bart Haggerty for the district leader spot in western Queens.

John Haggerty’s next court date is scheduled for Sept. 12 before Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel.

Bart Haggerty, who did not respond to phone calls seeking comment, is chief of staff to Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, a rival of the Haggertys and supporter of Gallagher, said the county party was not behind the mailer but claimed it was fair.

The Haggertys have tried to oust Ragusa from his post after they claimed last year that he was illegitimately elected at a Queens GOP reorganizational meeting.

John Haggerty, a Bloomberg campaign operative, is accused of stealing $1.1 million of the mayor’s money during his 2009 campaign.

The funds were funneled through the state Independence Party for poll watching and ballot security operations, but Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said $600,000 of those funds were spent to buy the Forest Hills Gardens home from the estate of the Haggerty’s late father, John Haggerty Sr.

Ragusa claimed the Haggertys were behind a mailer sent to discredit him in 2003 that featured Dennis Gallagher in handcuffs, although the brothers said they had nothing to do with the literature.

“At least [now], it’s the truth,” Ragusa said. “Bart accepted the money. Don’t tell me he didn’t know about it. His apartment was bought with money John got from the mayor. [Bart] can’t absolve himself and wash his hands of something he’s a part of.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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