Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret were among six arrested this morning as part of an alleged bribery plot that also swept up two Republican officials, a New York City councilman and a sitting state senator.
The FBI accused Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, of engineering cash payments in exchange for the support of Republican borough chairmen as he tried to get on the GOP ballot for the 2013 mayoral race in New York City. Smith, once the first African American majority leader of the state senate, is now a key member of the coalition of Republicans and Democrats that control the chamber.
Jasmin and Desmaret are accused of participating in a scheme to transfer Spring Valley land to a private interest who was believed to be developing a real estate project that Smith had agreed to direct state funds to. Jasmin, according to the complaint, promised her vote in favor of transferring the land in exchange for an ownership stake in the project, while Desmaret allegedly accepted about $10,000 in cash bribes.
Also charged in the plot were New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Chairman Vincent Tabone.
“Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “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.”
Here’s the full complaint. A press conference is slated for later today.