NY State Sen. Arrested in Alleged Mayor Race Plot

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Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking Tuesday at an event in Buffalo, called the arrests “very, very troubling.”

“We have zero tolerance for any violation of the public integrity and the public trust,” Cuomo said.

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox said the arrests were “deeply concerning.”

“The integrity of the electoral process for the voters of New York City must be preserved,” Cox said in a statement.

One candidate for mayor, billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, said the arrests “point to a culture of corruption that permeates our city and state, corruption fueled by career politicians who put personal advancement before public service.”

Tabone is a lawyer for Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group, which owns the Gristedes supermarket chain and other businesses, and Tabone also is a consultant to the billionaire’s campaign. Campaign finance records show Tabone has been paid $3,000 so far.

Catsimatidis’ campaign said on Tuesday that Tabone has been suspended from the business and his association with the campaign has been terminated.

If convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud and violation of the Hobbs Act, Smith could face up to 45 years in prison. If convicted, Halloran faced the same potential penalty on charges of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud. Tabone and Savino were each charged with conspiracy and wire fraud, which carry up to 25 years in prison. Jasmin and Desmaret were charged with mail fraud, which carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison.

Besides the mayoral plot, authorities said the investigation also revealed a scheme in which Halloran received $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 in straw donor campaign contribution checks to steer up to $80,000 in City Council money to a company he believed was controlled by those who paid him the bribes.

In a third plot, prosecutors say, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, 49, and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, 55, agreed to accept financial benefits so that Smith could use his power as a senator to help obtain state funds for road work in the Rockland County village outside New York City that would benefit a real estate project that Smith believed was being built by the undercover agent’s company in Spring Valley. Jasmin and Desmaret were arrested Tuesday.

Representatives for Jasmin, and Desmaret did not immediately respond to comment requests.

Bail was set for each of them at $250,000 with arrangements for their release Tuesday.

(Photo: AP)

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