By Howard Koplowitz
A Manhattan assistant district attorney said Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified before a grand jury in the case of a once-trusted political operative from Queens who is accused of stealing $1.1 million of the mayor’s money, according to a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.
The spokeswoman said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel did not disclose when Bloomberg testified or what he told the grand jury investigating GOP operative and Forest Hills resident John Haggerty, who had been involved in the mayor’s campaigns as well as failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s run.
“There were no additional details except that [Seidel] said the mayor did testify before the grand jury,” the spokeswoman said.
Haggerty is accused of pocketing $1.1 million Bloomberg earmarked for “ballot security operations” during his 2009 campaign.
The money had been funneled to Haggerty through the state Independence Party, to which Bloomberg gave $1.1 million after the 2009 election.
Of the $1.1 million allocated for ballot security, only $62,000 was spent, with Haggerty using the balance to buy the Forest Hills home of his late father, John Haggerty Sr.ï»¿
Haggerty’s attorneys are attempting to get the case dropped, claiming that Bloomberg had no control over the use of the money once it left his hands.
The revelation last week that Bloomberg testified before the grand jury came during proceedings in Manhattan Supreme Court, where Haggerty’s attorneys claimed the mayor never complained about the $1.1 million being mishandled.ï»¿
Seidel then brought up the grand jury testimony to say Bloomberg did care about the money.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel said he was going to decide March 14 on Haggerty attorney Dennis Vacco’s motion to dismiss the case, the New York Post reported.
Haggerty worked on the mayor’s campaigns and served as an adviser for Paladino, a Buffalo businessman.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.