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Court refuses to dismiss Haggerty $1.1M theft case

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Forest Hills political operative John Haggerty, who is accused of stealing $1.1 million of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s money, was unsuccessful last week in getting the case thrown out of court, the New York Post reported.

Haggerty allegedly said he needed the $1.1 million, which was funneled to him from Bloomberg through the state Independence Party, for poll watching and ballot security operations for the mayor’s re-election campaign in 2009, but Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said $600,000 of those funds were spent to buy the Forest Hills Gardens home from the estate of his late father, John Haggerty Sr.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel said Haggerty’s guilt is “overwhelming” in a letter he wrote to say prosecutors can proceed with the case, the Post reported.

Haggerty argued that Bloomberg’s campaign did not suffer from the alleged theft, but the judge was not buying it, according to the Post.

“Clearly the crime was serious,” Zweibel wrote, according to the Post. “Defendant is not Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

“He concocted this elaborate scheme because he needed the money to buy out his brother’s share of the family home. The bottom line is that defendant sought to enrich himself at Mayor Bloomberg’s expense and got caught when the newspapers started to investigate the mayor’s donation to the Independence Party,” he wrote.

Haggerty also argued that the allegations would hinder his ability to get a job, but Zweibel noted that the charges were already known when Haggerty worked for failed gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino in the last election.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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