Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, a Queens Republican, and two other New York City GOP officials pleaded not guilty today to a wide-ranging federal indictment on corruption charges, The Journal News/lohud.com reports.
The charges stem from a joint investigation by the FBI and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. Jasmin, Desmaret and the others were arrested in early morning raids April 2.
Jasmin and Desmaret were charged with taking bribes from Monsey financier Moses Mark Stern, who pushed for a fictitious catering hall development on village land. He was a cooperating witness with the FBI. He pleaded guilty in March to federal fraud charges, which have not been released.
According to the indictment, Jasmin demanded a 50 percent share of the catering hall and voted in favor of the fictitious development company. Other village board members didn’t know the mayor and deputy mayor had allegedly made back-room deals with Stern.
Jasmin left the federal courthouse without speaking to reporters today.
The other two people who have been charged are Vincent Tabone, Queens GOP vice chairman, and Bronx Republican Party Joseph Savino, a lawyer who handled tax cases on contract for Clarkstown and had a house in Congers. The Clarkstown Town Board fired Savino after the arrest.
Smith, whom prosecutors said was seeking to buy his way onto the Republican ballot in the New York City mayor’s race, has been charged with arranging cash bribes totaling $40,000 — $25,000 to Tabone and $15,000 to Savino.
Tabone said he was innocent and would have his “day in court” as he left the courthouse today. Savino declined to comment. They were charged with taking bribe money from Stern to get the GOP nomination for Smith, and Smith allegedly agreed in return to provide $500,000 in state transportation money for a road project Stern wanted in Spring Valley.