Sunday, May 6, 2012
Hiram heading to hoosegow
Hiram Monserrate, a controversial former politician from Queens, admitted Friday to sending more than $100,000 in City Council funds to a nonprofit that he used as a front group to finance his bid for state Senate. He faces up to 27 months in prison.
In 2005 and 2006, he directed $300,000 in discretionary money to the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and used more than a third that cash to bolster his failed run for office, according to details of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
While he was seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Senate in 2006, the then-councilman directed employees of the nonprofit to do work for his campaign, for which the organization paid them thousands of dollars, an investigation by the city's Department of Investigation revealed.
The nonprofit also used the council money to conduct a voter registration drive in the Senate district where Mr. Monserrate was campaigning, providing the list of registered voters to his campaign but “deliberately delaying” its release to the state Board of Elections. That provided an “unfair advantage” to the campaign, according to the plea agreement reached with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Monserrate directed the organization to use the council money to pay workers to gather signatures to get him on the ballot, and to canvass residents of the Queens district on his behalf.