Today’s news:

Halloran will not seek re-election

City Councilman Dan Halloran leaves federal court April 2 after being arrested in an alleged plot to bribe GOP bosses to insert state Sen. Malcolm Smith into the mayoral race as a Republican. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
TimesLedger Newspapers

Already indicted on federal corruption charges, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) announced Wednesday he would not seek a second term in the wake of new allegations that he had affairs with both a former intern and former deputy chief of staff.

Although an initial hearing was deferred Wednesday, Halloran will be the subject of a Council Standards and Ethics Committee investigation over whether the alleged affairs violated Council rules for disorderly behavior, the meeting agenda said.

The New York Post reported Monday that Halloran, now separated from his wife Cynthia, had been seen around town with 23-year-old John Jay College of Criminal Justice student Denise Batista, a former unpaid intern. The councilman’s small, tight-knit staff was aware of the relationship before Batista ultimately resigned from Halloran’s office, a source said.

Halloran had already had a previous office fling with former Deputy Chief of Staff Meaghan Mapes, who was seen at various events with the councilman and at one point listed as in a relationship with him on the Internet, the Post said. Mapes had been long gone from Halloran’s office by the time Batista arrived, according to the newspaper.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) said the Standards and Ethics Committee would question Halloran’s current and past staff members in the ethics probe, which could ultimately result in his removal from office after he was stripped of all assignments.

“Let me be clear. If these new allegations against Council member Halloran are true, we will throw the book at him,” Quinn said at a news conference in Throggs Neck Monday. “We have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.”

Late last week the Queens Republican Party announced it would back Dennis Saffran, a Republican challenger, for Halloran’s seat rather than the beleaguered councilman.

“This is a district we think we can hold and we want to put forward the best possible candidate,” said Robert Hornak, executive director of the Queens GOP. “We have to run competitive races up and down the ticket and hopefully that is what we have found.”

Two days after the affair allegations became public in the Post, Halloran released a statement announcing he would not seek re-election so he could spend time fighting federal charges of bribery and corruption.

“Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation, while I continue to discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council,” Halloran said. “After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign, so I will not pursue another term in the Council.”

A grand jury indictment accused Halloran and four other lawmakers of using bribery and fraud to procure state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) a spot on the GOP line for the upcoming mayoral election.

Halloran and Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in White Plains last week along with Queens Republican Party Vice Chairman Vince Tabone, former Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret.

“Our nation enshrines the presumption of innocence for a reason, and I look forward to having my day in court, where I am confident that I will ultimately be vindicated,” Halloran said in the statement. “Now is the time I must work to that end.”

If convicted, Halloran and Smith face up to 45 years in prison.

The race for Halloran’s northeast Queens 19th District seat has attracted more contenders since his April 2 arrest, with candidates stepping up on both sides of the aisle.

Chrissy Voskerichian, who resigned from Halloran’s staff after he was indicted, has thrown her hat into the ring for his seat. There were also rumors that Democrat Kevin Kim, who Halloran defeated back in 2009, may run for the spot.

Other Democrats who have been in the race include Paul Graziano, an activist and urban planning consultant; Austin Shafran, a former member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration; Paul Vallone, an attorney, who ran for the seat in 2009; former state Assemblyman John Duane, who officially announced his intentions last week.

On the Republican side, Rudy S. Giuliani, a cousin of the former mayor with the same name, has been rumored to join Saffran in vying for the seat.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Carmine says:
He was probably bangin' his chief of staff Chrissy.

Everyone knows it!
May 6, 2013, 5:19 pm
Arthur says:
Centola, maybe it's time for you to grow up.
May 7, 2013, 3:09 pm
Carmine says:
Hey Arthur. Before you accuse people and drag names thru the mud with ignorant accusations. You should know what your talking about. Ahole

This paper is pretty negligent allowing such accusations to be posted. I smell a lawsuit and will let the person know.
May 8, 2013, 4:51 pm
Arthur says:
Just a simple suggestion, hope you will consider it.
May 8, 2013, 6:10 pm
Angelo says:
Hey Arthur.

Source documents please, other wise it's considered immaterial slander (And please post a credible source).
May 10, 2013, 7:30 pm
Arthur says:
Centola, again, maybe it is time for you to grow up.
May 11, 2013, 9:32 am
Carmine says:
This idiot tells someone who isn't even here to grow up. Loser.
May 11, 2013, 9:22 pm
Arthur says:
then again, maybe it's not time.
May 12, 2013, 1:02 pm
Mark says:
Punk.
May 12, 2013, 1:13 pm
Joe from Whitestone says:
Queens politics are disgusting. For him to have sexually harassed these women, they would need to claim it was unwelcome. This seems to me like a political lynch mob trying to get a strong player out of the way with bs. Those doing it should be assumed but of course have no morals. It's disgraceful what is happening within the NYC politics and Quinn is a manipulator. I used to consider crossing party lines to vote for you but you're worse than the bottom of the GOP barrel. How about you all consider serving your constituents and cut the crap that hasn't been working for you any way.
May 18, 2013, 7:58 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group