Tom Ognibene

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Thomas Ognibene is an attorney and Republican politician in New York City.


Ognibene was elected in 1992 as New York City Council member, where he served through 2001, representing the 30th District in Queens, including the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and Forest Hills. Initially blocked by then Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani,[1] he was eventually elected as the Council Minority Leader and served from 1994-2001.

In the 1980s, Mr. Ognibene ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative Party candidate for judgeships in Supreme and Civil Courts and for Congress. Later changing to the Republican Party, he successfully ran for Council and then in a rebuff to Giuliani, he helped to engineer the controversial takeover of the Queens County Republican Party and have his favored candidate elected as Chairman [2]

His term in office was marred by allegations that surfaced in the Village Voice,[3][4] and confirmed by the Manhattan District Attorney in the New York Times [5][6] that Ognibene and his Chief of Staff were caught on multiple wiretaps with a New York City Department of Buildings official Ronald Lattanzio discussing questionable "pay to play" influence peddling, inside appointments and improperly securing large grants from NY State officials for friends. Though never formally charged, the allegations were widely believed to have derailed Ognibene's desired appointment to a judgeship on the New York Court of Claims that was already approved by the administration of Governor of New York George Pataki[7]

In 2005 Ognibene unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New York City against incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2005 mayoral election. Ognibene was endorsed by the leaders of the Queens County Republican Party to run in the Republican Party's primary election. However, Bloomberg's campaign successfully challenged enough of the signatures Ognibene had submitted to the Board of Elections to prevent Ognibene from appearing on ballots for the Republican primary.[8] Instead, Ognibene ran only on the Conservative Party ticket.[9] Ognibene's campaign sought to beat Bloomberg by calling attention to Bloomberg's reputation as a "Republican In Name Only".[10][11][12][13][14]

After a fallout with the Queens Republican leadership, Ognibene ran as a City Council candidate in a special election on June 3, 2008 for the seat he previously occupied where he came in third, losing to the Queens County Republican Party endorsed candidate Anthony Como and the Democratic County candidate Elizabeth Crowley.[15][16]

Ognibene was chosen as Buffalo developer Carl Paladino's running mate in the New York gubernatorial election, 2010. He secured a spot on the November ballot on the Taxpayers Party line only to be removed later to avoid a split ticket, and he petitioned his way onto the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor where he ran against the party's designee, Greg Edwards, the County Executive in Chautauqua County, in western New York. Ognibene lost on September 14, 2010,in a bitter primary.[17]


Originally from Middle Village in Queens,[18] Ognibene graduated from C.W. Post College in 1966, served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1970 and graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1974. He is a resident of Queens and has been married for 37 years to his wife Margaret, a former New York City junior high school teacher. He has two children, Guy and Eve.


  1. ^ Herszenhorn, David H. "Kingmaker Wannabe". The New York Times. October 22, 2005.
  2. ^ Herszenhorn, David H. "Kingmaker Wannabe". The New York Times. October 22, 2005.
  3. ^ Robbins, Tom. "The Councilman and the Crooked Building Consultant". The Village Voice. June 12, 2001.
  4. ^ Robbins, Tom. "Danger Below". The Village Voice. June 19, 2001.
  5. ^ Dwyer, Jim. "Vacation Offers For Councilman Are Scrutinized". The New York Times. June 13, 2001.
  6. ^ Lipton, Eric. "Councilman Denies Improperly Helping Building Consultant". The New York Times. June 20, 2001.
  7. ^ Mechling, Lauren. "Thomas Ognibene Drives Himself Toward Gracie Mansion". The New York Sun. July 6, 2005.
  8. ^ Schulman, Robin. "Ognibene Loses Bid for Line on Ballot Against Bloomberg". The New York Times. August 4, 2005.
  9. ^ Clyne, Meghan. "Ognibene Will Fight Bloomberg All the Way to November Election". New York Sun. April 27, 2005.
  10. ^ Levy, Julia. "Bloomberg's 'Republican' Problem". New York Sun. September 19, 2005.
  11. ^ Lagorio, Christine. "GOP Mayors Reign Over Liberal NYC". CBS News. October 22, 2005.
  12. ^ Baker, Gerald. "Democrats celebrate as voters pile woe upon woe for Bush". The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. November 10, 2005.
  13. ^ Goodwin, Michael. "Mike Takes It on Chin from MSG & Own Party on the City". Daily News. February 13, 2005.
  14. ^ Rudin, Ken. "Bloomberg News: A 'Subway Series' for President?" National Public Radio. June 20, 2007.
  15. ^ Gross, Courtney. "Another Special Election" Gotham Gazette. June 2, 2008.
  16. ^ Hicks, Johnathan P. "Council Victory in Queens Energizes Republican Party" The New York Times. June 23, 2008.
  17. ^ Katz, Celeste. "LG Loser Tom Ognibene: Carl Paladino "Killed Me"" NY Daily News. September 17, 2010.
  18. ^ Vitello, Paul. "In Enclave, Biggest Vote Is in Favor of Status Quo". The New York Times. October 16, 2005.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen DiBrienza
New York City Council, 30th District
Succeeded by
Dennis P. Gallagher
Preceded by
Michael Abel
Minority Leader, New York City Council
Succeeded by
James Oddo
Party political offices
Preceded by
William F. Trapani
Conservative Party of New York nominee for New York State Senate, 13th District
Succeeded by
Nicolina A. Saporito
Preceded by
Ralph G. Groves
Conservative Party of New York nominee for New York's 9th congressional district
1986, 1990
Succeeded by
Alice G. Gaffney
Preceded by
Terrance Gray
Conservative nominee for Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Stephen A. Christopher
Preceded by
Anthony Como
Republican nominee for New York City Council, 30th District
Succeeded by
Most Recent
New political party Taxpayers nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York
Most recent