The FBI arrested Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret this morning on charges they accepted bribes in exchange for backing a sale of village land to a private concern, The Journal News/lohud.com reports. They were taken to White Plains and are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in the city at 2:15 p.m., according to Police Chief Paul Modica.
The bribery scheme involved a planned community center, the criminal complaint states. Jasmin demanded an ownership stake in the concern, it said.
As part of the same criminal complaint, the FBI also arrested state Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, a Queens Republican, alleging they were part of a plot to rig the New York City mayoral election this year. Queens GOP Chairman Vincent Tabone and Joseph Savino, a Bronx GOP official who is a deputy town attorney in Clarkstown, were also arrested.
Smith, Halloran, Tabone and Savino are also scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in White Plains.
The schemes came to light as a cooperating witness worked with the government officials and met with the political leaders, as did an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer. The cooperating witness, whose name has not been made public, pleaded guilty March 11 as part of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and has been providing information in hopes of getting a more lenient sentence, according to the criminal complaint.
Jasmin has been mayor of the village since 2009, and Desmaret was sworn in the same day. They worked to bribe Republican Party county committee leaders in New York City to obtain certificates of authorization for a Democrat to run as a Republican.
Smith has been a senator since 2000. Prior to that, he worked in real estate development. He was named president of Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica in 1985. He founded Smith Development Corporation in 1991 and built more than 100 housing units in Southeastern Queens, Far Rockaway and Brooklyn, according to his biography on the Senate website.
Bribes for the Republican authorization to endorse Smith for New York City mayor were made to Savino and Tabone, according to the court complaint. Halloran arranged the meeting for $20,500. Tabone and Savino were given at total of $40,000 with a promise of $40,000 more to get Smith the GOP line
Smith used his office to help obtain state funds for a road project in Spring Valley, according to the complaint.
“The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes.”