Hiram Monserrate

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Hiram Monserrate
Hiram Monserrate 2009 cropped.jpg
Member of the New York State Senate
from the 13th district
In office
January 1, 2009 – February 9, 2010
Preceded byJohn Sabini
Succeeded byJose Peralta
Member of the New York City Council from the 21st District
In office
January 2002 – December 2008
Preceded byHelen Marshall
Succeeded byJulissa Ferreras
ConstituencyQueens: Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights
Personal details
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 51)
New York
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceJackson Heights, New York[1]
Alma materQueens College, City University of New York
Websitehttp://HiramMonserrate.net

Hiram Monserrate (born July 12, 1967) is a New York politician who served time in prison following a plea of guilty to federal corruption charges. A Democrat, Monserrate represented New York's 13th State Senate District in Queens from January 1, 2009 until February 9, 2010, when he was expelled from office following a misdemeanor conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend. Monserrate is also a former Marine, New York City police officer,[2] and Member of the New York City Council.

Political career (2002–present)[edit]

New York City Council[edit]

Monserrate served on the New York City Council from 2002 to 2008,[3] representing District 21 in Queens.[4]

In June 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an executive order allowing city employees to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities.[5] Monserrate, then chairing the Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, argued that this order would worsen relations between immigrant communities and the police. He responded by sponsoring a bill entitled "Access Without Fear", which would have forbidden city officials from revealing such information except as required by law.[5] He joined director Stephen Frears in publicizing the immigration film Dirty Pretty Things to raise awareness of the issue.[5]

In late 2008, Monserrate opposed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's planned use of eminent domain in the $4 billion Willets Point Redevelopment project in Queens.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7] He told reporters the compromise showed that government "can be fair and still do good economic development".[7]

Scientology controversy[edit]

Monserrate supported the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project,[2] a project co-founded by Tom Cruise to deliver the so-called Purification Rundown (an unproven "detoxification" procedure created by L. Ron Hubbard as part of Scientology) to rescue workers affected by the September 11 attacks.[8] Monserrate went through the program himself, and drafted official proclamations honoring both Cruise and Hubbard.[8][9][10][11] He also attended a fund-raising dinner in New York for the project,[12][13] as well as an event at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles.[14] Monserrate dismissed medical authorities' criticism of the Purification Rundown, saying, "This is the same type of thing they said about chiropractors twenty years ago."[15]

New York State Senate[edit]

In 2006, Monserrate ran for 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. Sabini withdrew from the race following 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.[16]

On June 8, 2009, Monserrate and Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) joined Senate Republicans in an attempted parliamentary coup for the purpose of shifting control of the Senate to the Republicans;[17] Monserrate, Espada, and all 30 Senate Republicans voted, 32-30, to replace Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith with then-Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and install Espada as Temporary President of the Senate.[18] This action resulted in the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis. A week later, Senate Democrats appointed Senator John Sampson as their leader.[19] On the same day, Monserrate rejoined the Democratic caucus, leaving the Senate in a 31-31 deadlock.[20][21] 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 rejoined the Democrats.[22]

On December 2, 2009, Monserrate voted against legislation allowing same-sex marriage, which failed to pass the Senate.[23]

Expulsion from the New York State Senate[edit]

A bipartisan nine-member committee recommended disciplinary action against Monserrate following his 2009 misdemeanor assault conviction. If Monserrate had been convicted of the felony charges against him, he would have been automatically expelled from the Senate.[24][25][26] Politicians of both parties at the national, state, and local level called for him to resign or be expelled from the State Senate.[27][28] The committee's report was released on January 14, 2010 and recommended that the full Senate expel or censure Monserrate.[29][30]

On February 9, 2010, the Senate Senate voted to expel Monserrate. The vote was 53 to 8, with one senator not present.[31][32] In response, Monserrate sued the State Senate in federal court.[33][34] Monserrate lost his case on the District Court level[35] and in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.[36][37]

Post-Senate political career[edit]

2010 State Senate special election[edit]

The Queens Democratic Party withdrew its support for Monserrate's 2010 re-election bid on October 29, 2009. The party leadership supported Assemblyman Jose Peralta for the State Senate.[38] Following Monserrate's expulsion from the Senate, Governor David Paterson called for a special election in the 13th Senate District to be held on March 16, 2010.[39] Peralta won the special election, outpolling Monserrate 65 percent to 27 percent.[40]

2010 State Assembly election[edit]

Monserrate filed petitions with the Board of Elections to be entered in the Democratic primary to fill the 39th Assembly District seat (Jackson Heights-Corona) vacated by Jose Peralta following his election to the State Senate.[41][42] The Queens County Democratic Party endorsed community activist Francisco Moya for the seat.[43] On September 14, 2010, Moya defeated Monserrate in the Democratic primary, 2,711 votes to 1,358 votes.[44][45]

2016 Democratic District Leader election[edit]

In June 2016, following his release from federal prison,[46] Monserrate attempted his third political comeback by seeking the unpaid elected position of Democratic District Leader for the 35th District in Corona and East Elmhurst.[47] Monserrate ran against Democratic incumbent and community volunteer George R. Dixon. Despite having struggled to meet court-ordered financial obligations, Monserrate opened a campaign office and hired paid staffers.[48] On September 13, 2016, Monserrate lost his bid for district leader by 57 votes.[49]

2017 New York City Council election[edit]

In 2017, Monserrate ran for New York City Council in District 21. He was defeated by Francisco Moya in the Democratic primary, 55%-44%.[50]

2018 Democratic District Leader election[edit]

In 2018, Monserrate again sought a district leader post in Queens.[51] On September 13, 2018, he prevailed.[52]

Legal problems[edit]

2008 assault charges[edit]

Arrest and investigation[edit]

Monserrate was arrested on December 19, 2008 and accused of slashing Karla Giraldo, his girlfriend, in the face with a broken drinking glass during an argument in his Jackson Heights apartment.[53] 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.

Giraldo initially made statements to hospital staff and the police that led to Monserrate's arrest. However, Giraldo later changed her account to match that of Monserrate, stated that the cuts on her face near her left eye from a broken glass were an accident, and added that she was no longer cooperating with the investigation.[54] Sources discussed evidence with the media, including video surveillance that supported the charges of assault and the attempt to cover it up.[55][56][57]

Prosecution[edit]

On March 23, 2009, a Queens grand jury indicted Monserrate on three counts of felony assault on Giraldo and three counts of misdemeanor assault.[58] 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."[59]

The case proceeded to trial, and Monserrate waived his right to a jury on September 18, 2009.[60] As his trial started, security camera footage from Monserrate's apartment building was entered into evidence and made public. The footage showed Giraldo girlfriend screaming and clutching at doorways as Monserrate forced her out of the building.[61][62][63] Giraldo testified in Monserrate's defense.[64]

Conviction and sentencing[edit]

On October 15, 2009, Monserrate was acquitted of the second-degree assault felony counts, but convicted on a third-degree assault misdemeanor count which carried a maximum sentence of one year in prison.[65] On December 4, 2009, Monserrate was sentenced to three years' probation, 250 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine, and one year of domestic abuse counseling. He sought to vacate an order of protection preventing him from contact with Giraldo, but it was not vacated.[66][67]

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.[68] The pair later ended their relationship.[69]

Indictment by United States in federal court case against Monserrate

2010 federal corruption charges[edit]

In October 2010, Monserrate was indicted on federal corruption charges which alleged that, as a sitting member of the City Council, he had used staff members of a nonprofit organization—the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment—to perform tasks related to his unsuccessful 2006 State Senate campaign. In 2006 and 2007, then-Councilmember Monserrate allocated $300,000 in discretionary city funding to LIBRE, and the indictment charged that approximately one-third of that funding went toward paying LIBRE staff for their campaign-related work.[70] After the court proceeding, he was freed after posting a $500,000 bond, secured by a home belonging to his parents.[71] Millions of dollars in so-called discretionary member items had been allocated by members of the City Council to non-profit groups with ties to the members. The investigation of Monserrate was part of a broad federal investigation to determine if these funds had been used for the members' personal or political expenses.[71]

Monserrate was assigned a court-appointed attorney.[72] In May 2012, Monserrate pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy. In December 2012, he was sentenced to serve two years in prison.[73]

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Probation informed Monserrate's judge that he had failed to make timely restitution payments.[74]

Monserrate served 21 months in federal prison.[75]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Jose, Katharine (April 22, 2008). "Mad-Dog Councilman Champions No Man's Land". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  3. ^ Gay, Mara (August 29, 2017). "Queens Council Race Sparks Tensions". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Gartland, Michael; Campanile, Carl (July 18, 2017). "Dems say ex-con Monserrate has real shot to win old Council seat". New York Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Gonzalez, Juan (July 15, 2003). "Closeup on Immigrant Horrors". New York Daily News. Daily News. p. 10.
  6. ^ Santos, Fernanda (August 13, 2008). "A Confrontation Over the Future of Willets Point". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c Associated Press reporters (November 13, 2008). "Controversial Queens development headed for vote". AFX Asia Focus. AFX News.
  8. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on June 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
  9. ^ Seifman, David (April 7, 2007). "'Cruise Control' Pol: It Helped Me". New York Post. Archived from the original on March 28, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  10. ^ Friedman, Roger (April 19, 2007). "FDNY Hierarchy Furious With Tom Cruise Over Scientology Detox for 9/11 Workers". Fox News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  11. ^ Seifman, David (April 20, 2007). "Crui$e is 'Detox' of De Town". New York Post. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  12. ^ "Cruise Wins Support of NY Emergency Workers With Fundraiser". SFGate.com. San Francisco Chronicle. April 20, 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  13. ^ Seifman, David (April 21, 2007). "Local Pols Cruised in Free to Tom Gala". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  14. ^ Seifman, David (August 8, 2007). "Councilman Parties With H'wood Scientology Set". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  15. ^ Observer staff (April 21, 2007). "Monserrate Defends Detox Program". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  16. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (August 8, 2008). "And Goodbye John Sabini". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  17. ^ Gormley, Michael (June 8, 2009). "GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY Senate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-06-08.[dead link]
  18. ^ Odato, James (June 8, 2009). "Two Democrats join Republicans to topple Smith as Senate leader". Albany Times Union. Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  19. ^ Madore, James T.; Epstein, Reid J. (June 15, 2009). "Senate Democrats name Sampson leader, dumping Smith". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  20. ^ "Mayoral control of schools in New York: Political prisoners". The Economist. June 20, 2009. p. 70.
  21. ^ Hakim, Danny; Peters, Jeremy W. (June 15, 2009). "Monserrate Flips Back to Democrats". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Katz, Celeste (2009-12-02). "Gay Marriage Fails, 24-38". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011.
  24. ^ Rivera, Ray (2008-12-20). "State Senator-Elect Accused of Slashing Companion's Face". New York Times.
  25. ^ "Councilman Pleads Not Guilty To Assault Charges". NY1 News. 2008-12-20. Archived from the original on 2008-12-23.
  26. ^ "The People of the State of New York v. Hiram Monserrate (indictment text)". 2009-03-23.
  27. ^ "Panel to weigh fate of senator". Albany Times Union. 2009-10-20.
  28. ^ Peters, Jeremy W.; Confessore, Nicholas (2009-10-20). "Lawmakers Weigh Expelling a Senator". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  29. ^ "Panel Recommends Expulsion or Censure for Monserrate". WNYC. 2010-01-14.
  30. ^ "New York State Senate Investigative Report on Monserrate". 2010-01-16.
  31. ^ Matthews, Cara (2010-02-09). "Senate votes to expel Sen. Hiram Monserrate". The Journal News.
  32. ^ Vielkind, Jimmy (2010-02-09). "Monserrate out in Senate vote". The Times Union.
  33. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (February 10, 2010). "Lawmakers Expel N.Y. State Senator Over Assault". New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  34. ^ Blain, Glenn (2010-02-09). "State Senate votes to boot Sen. Hiram Monserrate, citing his misdemeanor assault conviction". New York Daily News.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ Chang, Ailsa (March 12, 2010). "Monserrate's Request to Reverse Expulsion is Rejected". WNYC. www.wnyc.org. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  37. ^ "Monserrate, et al v. New York State Senate et al". March 13, 2010.(text of decision denying the appeal)
  38. ^ "Queens Dems to dump Monserrate, endorse challenger". Newsday. 2009-10-29.
  39. ^ "Ousted Senator Fights Expulsion With Lawsuit". NY1. 2010-02-11. Archived from the original on 2010-02-14.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ "West Queens races heat up". News Community Holdings. 2010-07-21.
  42. ^ "Nominating petitions usher in political season". Queens Gazette. 2010-07-20.
  43. ^ Davis, Pete (May 25, 2010). "County Dems pick some surprise candidates". The Queens Courier. Schneps Publications. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  44. ^ "Paladino Wins Gubernatorial Primary As Monserrate, Espada Concede". NY1. 2010-09-14. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  45. ^ "Primary Election Results". NY1. 2010-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  46. ^ Short, Aaron (March 13, 2016). "Ex-senators plotting political comebacks after years in clink". New York Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  47. ^ "Queens Dems to target disgraced Monserrate district leader run". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  48. ^ "Ex-Senator Monserrate Returns To Politics - Queens Tribune". queenstribune.com. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  49. ^ "Hiram Monserrate Loses by Only 57 Votes in Comeback Bid for District Leader". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  50. ^ "Moya Touts 'Honesty and Integrity' in Council Win Over Monserrate in Queens". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  51. ^ Campanile, Carl (August 27, 2018). "Disgraced former senator running for office again". New York Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  52. ^ Campanile, Carl; Marino, Joe; Fredericks, Bob (September 14, 2018). "New York Democrats pick some scandalous candidates". New York Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  53. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-19). "Monserrate Arrested". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  54. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-23). "Hiram Monserrate's girlfriend pushes prosecutors to drop assault charges". New York Daily News.
  55. ^ Weiss, Murray (2008-12-24). "'Ex' Factor Enraged Hiram: Cops". New York Post.
  56. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (2008-12-19). "Going the Distance". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08.
  57. ^ Stirling, Steven (2008-12-23). "Tape shows Monserrate pulling girlfriend's hair: Sources". News Community Newspapers.
  58. ^ "State Senator Indicted on Domestic Assault Charges" (PDF). Queens County, Office of District Attorney. 2009-03-23.
  59. ^ "Monserrate Is Indicted On Assault Charges". NY1 News. 2009-03-23.[permanent dead link]
  60. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (2009-09-14). "Monserrate Waives Right to Jury Trial in Assault Case". New York Times.
  61. ^ "Judge releases Monserrate security video". WNBC. 2009-09-22.
  62. ^ "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.
  63. ^ 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.
  64. ^ Minton, Tim; Clancy, Michael (October 15, 2009). "Monserrate Walks on Felonies; Guilty of Misdemeanor Assault". NBC New York. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  65. ^ Minton, Tim; Clancy, Michael (October 15, 2009). "Monserrate Walks on Felonies; Guilty of Misdemeanor Assault". NBC New York. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  66. ^ "Senator sentenced to probation, counseling". New York Times/Associated Press. 2009-12-04.[dead link]
  67. ^ Katz, Celeste (2009-12-04). "No jail time for Monserrate". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2009-12-07.
  68. ^ "Hiram gets cut a break. Judge reunites ex-pol with love". New York Post. 2010-07-10.
  69. ^ "Monserate ex attacks fiancé with his own samurai sword". New York Post. 2016-06-29. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  70. ^ Rashbaum, William K.; Santos, Fernanda (October 19, 2010). "Monserrate Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  71. ^ a b Santos, Fernanda; William K. Rashbaum (2010-10-19). "Monserrate Is Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  72. ^ 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.
  73. ^ Moynihan, Colin (2012-12-11). "Hiram Monserrate Gets 2 Years in Prison for Misuse of Funds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  74. ^ "Ex-senator Monserrate struggling to pay restitution". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  75. ^ Gartland, Michael; Campanile, Carl (July 18, 2017). "Dems say ex-con Monserrate has real shot to win old Council seat". New York Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Helen Marshall
New York City Council, 21st District
2002–2008
Succeeded by
Julissa Ferreras
Preceded by
Charles Fuschillo
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Jose Peralta
New York State Senate
Preceded by
John Sabini
New York State Senate, 13th District
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Jose Peralta