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Former mayoral campaign operative found guilty of looting Bloomy

TimesLedger Newspapers

Queens political operative John Haggerty was found guilty Friday by a Manhattan jury of grand larceny and money laundering after being accused of stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After nearly two days of deliberations, the Manhattan Supreme Court jury found Haggerty, a Republican operative, misled Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign that he was working on a ballot security operation when instead he used most of the $1.1 million to buy out his brother’s share of their late father’s Forest Hills Gardens home.

The jury acquitted Haggerty of the most serious charge, first-degree grand larceny, but convicted him of second-degree grand larceny and money laundering.

Haggerty faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced.

The $1.1 million was given by Bloomberg to the state Independence Party, which was to pay Haggerty for a ballot security operation that entailed hiring poll watchers on Election Day.

Prosecutors said Haggerty performed only $32,000 in ballot security work and used the rest to buy the Forest Hills Gardens home.

The jury did not buy the arguments from Haggerty’s attorneys that the $1.1 million donation constituted a gift and that Bloomberg had no control over the money’s use once it left his account.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel said Haggerty created phony invoices to give the appearance that he was running a legitimate operation.

“It was a fiction,” Seidel said. “This is pure fiction. It was a con.”

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

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