|Member of the New York State Senate
from the 13th district
January 1, 2009 – February 9, 2010
|Preceded by||John Sabini|
|Succeeded by||Jose Peralta|
|Member of the New York City Council from the 21st District|
January 2002 – December 2008
|Preceded by||Helen Marshall|
|Succeeded by||Julissa Ferreras|
|Constituency||Queens: Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights|
July 12, 1967 |
|Residence||Jackson Heights, New York|
|Alma mater||Queens College, City University of New York|
Hiram Monserrate (born July 12, 1967) is a former member of the New York State Senate. He represented the 13th District which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Woodside. He was expelled by the New York State Senate on February 9, 2010 in connection with a misdemeanor assault conviction.
Previously, he was member of the New York City Council representing District 21 covering an area similar to the 13th Senate District. He had served as Co-chair of the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and as chairman of the Veterans Committee on the Council. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is a former Marine and New York City police officer.
On March 23, 2009, a grand jury indicted Monserrate on three felony and three misdemeanor charges, in connection with a December 19, 2008 injury to his girlfriend. He was convicted on October 15, 2009 of one count of misdemeanor assault, and acquitted of two counts of felony assault and one other count of misdemeanor assault. He was later sentenced to three years probation, 250 hours of community service, and one year of domestic abuse counseling. A committee of the State Senate made disciplinary recommendations to the entire Senate for his censure or expulsion. The State Senate voted to expel Monserrate.
Political career (2002–2009) 
In June 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an executive order allowing city employees to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities. Monserrate, then chairing the Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, argued that this would worsen relations between immigrant communities and the police. He responded by sponsoring a bill, titled "Access Without Fear", forbidding city officials from revealing information about any New York citizen except as required by law. He joined director Stephen Frears in publicising the immigration film Dirty Pretty Things to raise awareness of the issue.
Scientology controversy 
The Councilman supported the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a project co-founded by Tom Cruise to deliver the Purification Rundown (an alternative "detoxification" procedure created by L. Ron Hubbard as part of Scientology) to treat rescue workers affected by the September 11 attacks. Monserrate went through the program himself, and drafted official proclamations honoring both Cruise and Hubbard. He also attended a fund-raising dinner in New York for the project, as well as an event at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. He describes himself as "a Christian, who was raised Evangelical Christian" and denies any belief in Scientology, arguing that it is unconnected to the rundown. He dismissed medical authorities' criticism of the rundown, saying, "This is the same type of thing they said about chiropractors twenty years ago."
In 2006, Monserrate ran for the New York State Senate against fellow Democrat John Sabini, a 16-year incumbent. Monserrate came within 200 votes of pulling off an upset in one of the closest races in Queens. In 2008, he again ran for the State Senate with the support of organized labor. The incumbent State Senator Sabini withdrew after his appointment to chair the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. Monserrate then ran unopposed and on November 4, 2008, was elected the New York State Senator for the 13th district. Monserrate was endorsed in 2008 by the Empire State Pride Agenda, an advocacy group that supports same-sex marriage.
In late 2008, Monserrate opposed Mayor Bloomberg's planned use of eminent domain in the $4 billion Willets Point Redevelopment project in Queens. The long-term project aimed to clear the 62-acre (250,000 m2) industrial area, clear up pollution and develop a hotel and convention center. However, it was initially opposed by a majority of the existing business owners. Monserrate changed his mind and supported the development after being assured that one third of the housing would be affordable and that the city would offer businesses an opportunity to relocate. He told reporters the compromise showed that government "can be fair and still do good economic development".
On June 8, 2009, Monserrate and Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) formed a coalition with the Senate Republicans. The resulting 32-30 majority appointed Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) as Majority Leader and installed Espada as Temporary President of the Senate, replacing Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens). A week later, the Senate Democrats appointed Senator John Sampson as their leader. Monserrate responded that day by rejoining the Democratic caucus, leaving the Senate tied. With the office of Lieutenant Governor vacant due to Eliot Spitzer's resignation, the tie could not be resolved, and the resulting legislative deadlock continued until July 9, when Espada switched back to the Democrats.
Assault of Karla Giraldo 
Monserrate was arrested on December 19, 2008 and accused of slashing Karla Giraldo in the face with a broken drinking glass during an argument in his Jackson Heights apartment. He was arraigned the same day and pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree assault, a felony that carried a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. If Monserrate were convicted of the felony charges, he would have been automatically expelled from the Senate.
His companion initially made statements to hospital staff and the police which led to his arrest. She later changed her account to match that of Monserrate namely that the cuts on her face near her left eye from a broken glass were an accident and she is no longer cooperating with the investigation. Sources have discussed with the media evidence including video surveillance that support the charges of assault and the attempt to cover it up. On February 27, 2009, the order of protection which prevents Monserrate from having contact with Giraldo was extended over the objections of Monserrate's attorney.
On March 23, 2009, a Queens grand jury indicted Monserrate on three counts of felony assault on Giraldo and three counts of misdemeanor assault. If convicted, the maximum sentence would be seven years. Monserrate denied the charges, saying "Listen, the reality is that from the very beginning I have said this was an accident. My girlfriend said it's an accident. This is an accident and we look forward to the dismissal of all these charges based on the truth."
The charges were not dismissed and proceeded to trial where Monserrate waived his right to a jury on September 18, 2009. As his trial started, the security camera videotape described above was entered in evidence and made public. It shows his girlfriend screaming and clutching at doorways as he forces her outside.
Conviction and sentencing 
On, October 15, 2009, Monserrate was acquitted of the second-degree assault felony counts, and convicted on a third-degree assault misdemeanor count which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. While this conviction did not automatically remove him from office, the Senate later voted to expel him from the Senate.
On December 4, 2009, Monserrate was sentenced to three years' probation, 250 hours of community service, a $1000 fine, and one year of domestic abuse counseling. He sought to vacate the order of protection preventing him from contact with Giraldo. It was not vacated. The conviction was appealed.
In an appearance before the sentencing judge, William Erlbaum, on July 7, 2010, Monserrate again petitioned to have a court order prohibiting him from contact with Giraldo vacated. The petition was granted, and according to the New York Post, Monserrate and Giraldo kissed and held hands.
Expulsion from New York Senate 
A nine member committee of State Senators of both parties headed by Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan) recommended disciplinary action against Monserrate. Politicians of both parties at the national, state, and local level have called for him to resign, or for his expulsion from the State Senate. The committee's report was released on January 14, 2010 and recommended that the full Senate expel or censure him. On January 21, 2010; State Senator Brian Foley (D-Long Island) introduced a resolution to the Senate calling for his expulsion for behavior "not compatible with his oath of office."
On February 9, 2010, the Senate voted to expel Monserrate. The vote was 53 to 8 with one senator not present. The eight "no" votes were cast by Democrats from New York City—Espada, Sampson, Carl Kruger, Kevin Parker, Ruben Diaz, Martin Malave Dilan and Eric Adams. Twenty-nine Republicans voted for the resolution. Sen. Thomas Morahan (R-New City, Rockland County), was excused due to illness. In response, Monserrate sued the State Senate in Federal court. On February 19, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley refused to reinstate Monserrate to the New York State Senate. In a written opinion, Judge Pauley ruled that Monserrate's claims of denial of due process were not founded and that the right of legislative bodies to discipline members is "embedded in American democracy." Monserrate appealed the decision of Judge Pauley to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in an attempt to overturn both the expulsion and the special election to replace the vacant seat in the New York State Senate. The appeal was denied on March 12.
Political career (2010–present) 
State Senate Candidate (Special Election) 
The Queens Democratic Party withdrew their support for Monserrate for the 2010 primary election for the State Senate on October 29, 2009. Democratic Queens County leader and Congressman Joseph Crowley announced "The community is ready to move on". The party leadership will support Assemblyman Jose Peralta for the State Senate. Governor David Paterson has called for a special election in the 13th Senate District to be held on March 16, 2010. Monserrate said he filed petitions on February 23 with sufficient signatures to place him on the ballot for the special election. The Empire State Pride Agenda opposed his candidacy because of his vote against gay marriage, and stated that they supported Monserrate in 2008 because he told them that he would support gay marriage.
An editorial in The New York Times commented negatively regarding Monserrate's campaign in the special election for the vacant New York State Senate seat, "Former State Senator Hiram Monserrate’s story would seem to rule him out of any race for public office. He was convicted last year of brutally dragging a female companion through his apartment lobby after she was, somehow, slashed in the face with a broken glass while in his room. His fellow state senators, from both parties, voted 53 to 8 to expel him, the first such action taken by the State Senate in more than 90 years. Yet here is the disgraced former senator, shamelessly running in a special election in Northern Queens on Tuesday in an effort to return to his old seat. Mr. Monserrate is not baring his soul or apologizing for his actions. Incredibly, he is declaring himself the victim in the mess he created for himself, his wounded companion and many others around him."
According to The New York Times, on the day of the special election, Monserrate visited "a senior center on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona that also held a polling station, violating election laws that require candidates and their supporters to stay at least 100 feet away." Later on the day of the election, two vans labeled with Monserrate's parked adjacent to a polling location, and a poll worker instructed Monserrate that per election laws, the vehicles needed to be moved. Monserrate asserted that the vehicles were not working for him, and responded to the poll worker, "Buzz off, man. Buzz off. Go shave, get a haircut and get lost. Who are you to tell me who I can and can’t talk to?"
According to the Associated Press, Jose Peralta won the special election, outpolling Monserrate 65 percent to 27 percent and Republican Robert Beltrani with 8 percent. In May 2010, Monserrate dropped a lawsuit against the New York State Senate he had filed in U.S. federal court; his lawyer noted, "Basically we thought [the court] heard our arguments. We didn’t prevail." The Queens County Democratic Party made selections for its picks in the 2010 elections, and endorsed community activist Francisco Moya for Assembly District 39 in the New York State Assembly. Monserrate had previously voiced interest in running for the Assembly seat. The Executive Secretary for the Queens Democratic Party stated that the endorsement of Moya was in part an attempt to prevent this, and said: "We’re putting together a coalition that is going to make it very clear that Hiram [Monserrate] has no part in the Democratic Party." In May 2010, Monserrate was unemployed, and the New York Post reported that he was no longer in a relationship with Karla Giraldo.
State Assembly Candidate 
Monserrate filed petitions with the Board of Elections to be entered in the Democratic party primary election to fill the seat vacated by Jose Peralta in the New York State Assembly 39th district (Jackson Heights-Corona) in July 2010. On July 30, 2010, the New York Daily News reported that Monserrate and Giraldo have reconciled. On September 14, 2010, Francisco Moya, a local community activist who held the support of the Democratic party leadership, defeated Monserrate in the primary election 2711 votes to 1358 votes.
Federal corruption charges 
In October 2010, Monserrate was indicted in federal corruption charges which alleged that he had used workers from Libre, a Queens social service agency that had received millions in earmarks that Monserrate had obtained for the organization during his tenure on the City Council, using $100,000 in agency funds to pay for dozens of workers to perform campaign work collecting signatures for his 2006 Senate bid. He was freed after posting a $500,000 bond, secured by a home belonging to his parents. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Millions of dollars in so-called discretionary member items have been allocated by members of the City Council to non-profit groups with ties to the members. The investigation of Monserrate is part of a broad federal investigation to determine if these funds have been used for the members' personal or political expenses.
At a hearing to determine if Monserrate would be allowed to use public funds to defend himself, his motion was denied. He also indicated that he was unemployed and he did not affirm to the judge that he was seeking any employment. He has been assigned a court-appointed attorney.
See also 
- Pearson, Erica; Gendar, Alison (2009-01-07). "Sources say video shows Sen. Hiram Monserrate dragging lover, who looks 'scared out of her mind'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Peters, Jeremy (2009-02-09). "Lawmakers Expel N.Y. State Senator Over Assault". New York Times.
- Jose, Katharine (April 22, 2008). "Mad-Dog Councilman Champions No Man's Land". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- "State Senator Indicted on Domestic Assault Charges" (PDF). Queens County, Office of District Attorney. 2009-03-23.
- "State Senator Hiram Monserrate is Acquitted". Associated Press-WCBS Radio. 2009-10-09.
- "Senator sentenced to probation, counseling". New York Times/Associated Press. 2009-12-04.[dead link]
- "Panel to weigh fate of senator". Albany Times Union. 2009-10-20.
- Gonzalez, Juan (July 15, 2003). "CLOSEUP ON IMMIGRANT HORRORS". New York Daily News (Daily News). p. 10.
- DeSio, John (May 31, 2007). "The Rundown on Scientology’s Purification Rundown: What Scientologists aren't telling you about their detox program (and how much it’s costing you)". New York Press. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
- Seifman, David (April 7, 2007). "'Cruise Control' Pol: It Helped Me". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Friedman, Roger (April 19, 2007). "FDNY Hierarchy Furious With Tom Cruise Over Scientology Detox for 9/11 Workers". Fox News. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- Seifman, David (April 20, 2007). "Crui$e is 'Detox' of De Town". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
- "Cruise Wins Support of NY Emergency Workers With Fundraiser". SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle). April 20, 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Seifman, David (April 21, 2007). "LOCAL POLS CRUISED IN FREE TO TOM GALA". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Seifman, David (August 8, 2007). "COUNCILMAN PARTIES WITH H'WOOD SCIENTOLOGY SET". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Observer staff (April 21, 2007). "Monserrate Defends Detox Program". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth (August 8, 2008). "And Goodbye John Sabini". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Santos, Fernanda (August 13, 2008). "A Confrontation Over the Future of Willets Point". New York Times.
- Associated Press reporters (November 13, 2008). "Controversial Queens development headed for vote". AFX Asia Focus (AFX News).
- Gormley, Michael (June 8, 2009). "GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY Senate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-06-08.[dead link]
- Odato, James (June 8, 2009). "Two Democrats join Republicans to topple Smith as Senate leader". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-06-08.[dead link]
- Madore, James T.; Epstein, Reid J. (June 15, 2009). "Senate Democrats name Sampson leader, dumping Smith". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- "Mayoral control of schools in New York: Political prisoners". The Economist. June 20, 2009. p. 70.
- Hakim, Danny; Peters, Jeremy W. (June 15, 2009). "Monserrate Flips Back to Democrats". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- Lovett, Kenneth; Benjamin, Elizabeth; Blain, Glenn (2009-07-09). "End in sight for Senate deadlock? Rogue Democrat Pedro Espada returning to Dems". Daily News. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- Katz, Celeste (2009-12-02). "Gay Marriage Fails, 24-38". Daily News (New York).
- Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-19). "Monserrate Arrested". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- Rivera, Ray (2008-12-20). "State Senator-Elect Accused of Slashing Companion’s Face". New York Times.
- "Councilman Pleads Not Guilty To Assault Charges". NY1 News. 2008-12-20.
- "The People of the State of New York v. Hiram Monserrate (indictment text)". 2009-03-23.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-23). "Hiram Monserrate's girlfriend pushes prosecutors to drop assault charges". New York Daily News.
- Weiss, Murray (2008-12-24). "'Ex' Factor Enraged Hiram: Cops". New York Post.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-19). "Going the Distance". New York Daily News.
- Stirling, Steven (2008-12-23). "Tape shows Monserrate pulling girlfriend’s hair: Sources". News Community Newspapers.
- Meenan, Mick (2009-02-27). "Order of Protection Against Monserrate Is Extended". New York Times.
- Gorta, William J. (2009-02-28). "Legal Low for Hiram". New York Post.
- Bode, Nichole (2009-03-23). "State Senator Hiram Monserrate indicted on charges of assaulting his girlfriend". New York Daily News.
- "Monserrate Is Indicted On Assault Charges". NY1 News. 2009-03-23.
- Blumenthal, Ralph (2009-09-14). "Monserrate Waives Right to Jury Trial in Assault Case". New York Times.
- "Judge releases Monserrate security video". WNBC. 2009-09-22.
- "Surveillance tape played in NY pol's assault trial". Associated Press. 2009-09-22. "Surveillance video played at the domestic assault trial of a New York state senator shows his girlfriend screaming and clutching at doorways as he forces her outside. The tape was played Tuesday for Judge William Erlbaum of State Supreme Court in Queens. It shows Hiram Monserrate forcibly leading Karla Giraldo out the door on their way to a hospital as she resists."
- William J. Gorta and Andy Geller, "Hiram & the draggin' lady: Trial video shows senator pulling bloody, screaming gal," New York Post, September 23, 2009, found at New York Post website. Accessed September 23, 2009.
- Montero, Douglas; Gorta, William J.; Lisi, Clemente (2009-10-16). "NY state senator escapes felony assault conviction". New York Post.
- Katz, Celeste (2009-12-04). "No jail time for Monserrate". New York Daily News.
- "State Senate panel: Expel or censure Monserrate". Auburn Citizen-Associated Press. 2010-01-14.
- "Hiram gets cut a break. Judge reunites ex-pol with love". New York Post. 2010-07-10.
- Peters, Jeremy W.; Confessore, Nicholas (2009-10-20). "Lawmakers Weigh Expelling a Senator". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- "Panel Recommends Expulsion or Censure for Monserrate". WNYC. 2010-01-14.
- "New York State Senate Investigative Report on Monserrate". 2010-01-16.
- "Foley files resolution to expel Monserrate". Albany Times Union. 2010-01-21.
- Matthews, Cara (2010-02-09). "Senate votes to expel Sen. Hiram Monserrate". The Journal News.
- Vielkind, Jimmy (2010-02-09). "Monserrate out in Senate vote". The Times Union.
- Blain, Glenn (2010-02-09). "State Senate votes to boot Sen. Hiram Monserrate, citing his misdemeanor assault conviction". New York Daily News.
- Peters, Jeremy W. (2010-02-19). "Judge Declines to Reverse Monserrate’s Expulsion From the State Senate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- Rafter, Domenick (February 25, 2010). "Sears Declines GOP Slot, Judge Put On The Ticket". Queens Tribune (www.queenstribune.com). Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Chang, Ailsa (March 12, 2010). "Monserrate's Request to Reverse Expulsion is Rejected". WNYC (www.wnyc.org). Retrieved 2010-03-13.
- Lisberg, Adam (March 12, 2010). "Monserrate Expects A Win In Court UPDATE: Denied!". New York Daily News (www.nydailynews.com). Retrieved 2010-03-13.
- "Monserrate, et al v. New York State Senate et al". March 13, 2010.(text of decision denying the appeal)
- "Queens Dems to dump Monserrate, endorse challenger". Newsday. 2009-10-29.
- "Ousted Senator Fights Expulsion With Lawsuit". NY1. 2010-02-11.
- "Monserrate Files Petition in Bid to Retake Seat". WNBC-TV. 2010-02-23.
- Editorial (March 10, 2010). "Meet the Candidate: A Convicted Abuser". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. A26. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- Santos, Fernando; Rebecca White (March 16, 2010). "Monserrate and Peralta Hit the Polls in State Senate Race". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. City Room. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Amira, Dan (March 16, 2010). "Hiram Monserrate Hates It When Dirty Hippies Try to Make Him Obey the Law". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Del Signore, John (March 16, 2010). "Monserrate, True to Form, Above the Law on Election Day". Gothamist. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Trapasso, Clare; Feeney, Michael J.; Standora, Leo (2010-03-16). "Ousted state Sen. Hiram Monserrate loses bid to regain seat as Assemblyman Jose Peralta triumphs". New York: Associated Press.
- Alcorn, Chauncey (May 20, 2010). "Monserrate drops lawsuit against Senate". YourNabe.com (News Community Newspapers Holdings, Inc.). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Davis, Pete (May 25, 2010). "County Dems pick some surprise candidates". The Queens Courier (Schneps Publications, Inc.). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Amira, Dan (May 17, 2010). "Least Eligible Bachelor Hiram Monserrate Is Back in the Game". New York Magazine (nymag.com). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Rosenberg, Rebecca (May 17, 2010). "Hiram Monserrate looking for love after cutting gal pal free". New York Post (NYP Holdings, Inc). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "West Queens races heat up". News Community Holdings. 2010-07-21.
- "Nominating petitions usher in political season". Queens Gazette. 2010-07-20.
- Lisberg, Adam (2010-07-30). "Hiram Monserrate, back on ballot". New York Daily News.
- "Paladino Wins Gubernatorial Primary As Monserrate, Espada Concede". NY1. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- "Primary Election Results". NY1. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- Rashbaum, William K.; Santos, Fernanda (October 19, 2010). "Monserrate Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Santos, Fernanda; William K. Rashbaum (2010-10-19). "Monserrate Is Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- Golding, Bruce (2011-01-29). "Deadbeat ex-pol Monserrate can't pay high-powered lawyer with public funds: Judge". New York Post. "When asked what he was doing to find work, Monserrate -- who never took off his tightly buttoned, black wool coat -- only raised his eyebrows and shrugged. In recent court papers, Monserrate claimed he had $128,000 in debts and only $100 to his name."
- Goldenberg, Susan; Amanda Mikelberg; Jennifer Femino (2011-04-11). "Ex-senator Hiram Monserrate, accused of slashing girlfriend, now working at pizza joint". New York Post. "The address on the paperwork is his mother's house in Queens, where Monserrate has lived off and on."
|Wikinews has news related to:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hiram Monserrate|
- New York State Senate: Hiram Monserrate
- "Hiram 08 Democrat for New York State Senate". 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-04. (official campaign site)
- Goodman, J David (2010-03-05). "When Not to Accept Comments". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-07. (shortly after the previous link was added to this Wikipedia article, the New York Times and others noted this dormant site was still accepting comments, most of which were highly critical of Monserrate)
- Lou Dobbs Tonight Panel on illegal immigration, including Monserrate and his City Council colleague, Dennis Gallagher.
- Council Members Question Bloomberg 'Sweetheart Deal' With Developer. The New York Sun. April 26, 2005.
- Public Lives; A Political Bulldog Who Does a Mean Merengue. New York Times. September 25, 2003.
- NYCLU Legal Brief Challenging Monserrate Explusion from NY Senate
|New York City Council, 21st District
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 13th District