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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lawless Retaliation Alive and Well for Ignoring Double Standards

Staten Island Conservatives endorse Democrat Michael Ryan to run vs. GOP D.A. Donovan this fall
The Staten Island Advance by Tom Wrobleski  -  June 17, 2011  -  www.silive.com


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In a stunning upset that is being chalked up to Conservative Borough President James Molinaro's long feud with GOP District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Staten Island Conservatives last night endorsed Democrat Michael Ryan to run against Donovan this fall. The outcome sparked a scalding new rupture, this one between Molinaro and former GOP Borough President Guy Molinari, Donovan's campaign chairman, who said the new rift "is never going to be healed." "I've been disappointed in Molinaro before, but this is the last straw," Molinari said of his friend and political ally of 40 years. "To keep this vendetta going is ridiculous." Molinaro was Molinari's Borough Hall deputy and congressional chief of staff. "I'm not taking it anymore," said Molinari. "I haven't been comfortable with him for a number of years."  Molinaro, who did not attend the convention, could not be reached for comment. The secret-ballot vote, which went 30-23 in Ryan's favor with six abstentions, left Conservatives in stunned silence at their county convention in The Road House, Sunnyside. "Clearly, it's political," said Conservative chairman Carmine Ragucci, who said he was surprised by the outcome. In a stunning move, Molinaro's Conservatives snub Donovan in favor of Democrat Michael Ryan. Molinari charges that the Ryan selection was steeped in Molinaro's long-running feud with the D.A.  Conservatives were so stunned that they counted the paper ballots three times before announcing the result. Ragucci said it was hard to fathom that the party was endorsing "a liberal Democrat." Ryan, who lost to Donovan four years ago, favors gay marriage, abortion rights and other issues that are anathema to Conservatives. "For our party, it doesn't look good," Ragucci said.

SHOW OF SUPPORT

"A lot of these people know Jim Molinaro," said one committee member. "Some are his friends and family members. They did this to show they support Jim." The committee also includes top members of Molinaro's Borough Hall staff as well as his longtime companion, Joan Cusack. Molinaro had said in recent weeks that he would not lobby behind the scenes to secure the endorsement for Ryan, but members of the Donovan camp remained wary. "He laid low," one said last night. "This is so unnecessary." Donovan had been endorsed by the borough party in both his prior races for district attorney. He declined to comment last night, but has previously said he is confident he can win without the Conservative line. Donovan, who was first elected in 2003, also could gather petition signatures to launch an opportunity-to-ballot effort to snag the endorsement, an arduous process that is rarely successful. While Molinaro has prided himself on being politically pragmatic in backing Democrats in the past, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Rep. Michael McMahon, the Ryan endorsement is seen as grounded in personal animosity. An off-Island Conservative said, "The county committee is controlled by Jimmy Molinaro. Staten Island Conservatives are more and more an adjunct of the Democratic Party." State Conservative chairman Michael Long, whose party backed Donovan in his 2010 bid for state attorney general, could not be reached for comment.

FALLING OUT

Donovan was Molinaro's deputy borough president, but the two fell out after Donovan in 2007 called for a special prosecutor in a case involving Molinaro's grandson. The case, which occurred amidst Donovan's first re-election bid, resulted in the younger Molinaro's being sentenced to jail time, sparking Molinaro's enmity. The two no longer speak, and Molinaro that year urged Conservatives in a full-page ad in the Advance and in a personal letter to vote for Ryan, even though Donovan was the Conservative candidate.  Donovan won that election with 68 percent of the vote. Molinari said it was wrong of Molinaro to expect Donovan to breach the ethics of his office in the case.  Donovan was Molinari's Borough Hall chief of staff. "Is Molinaro going to put his ethics alongside Dan Donovan's?" he said. "I'd like to see the people vote on that." Molinari said that Molinaro was in office "because of me." "If this is how he wants to go out, that's his problem," said Molinari. "We'll see you in the street." After interviewing both candidates earlier this week, the borough party's executive committee last night backed Donovan over Ryan by 8-4, with three abstentions. But the result was far different on the convention floor, despite a speech in Donovan's favor from Daniel Master Sr., a founder of the state Conservative Party and one of the organization's most revered figures. "I'm shocked by the vote," Master Sr. said afterward. When asked if he thought the feud was behind the endorsement, he said, "I don't know. But if that's what it solely came down to, I'm sad." Master's son, Daniel Jr., also a Conservative, is Donovan's chief assistant district attorney. In nominating Donovan, Master Sr. said, "Why abandon Dan Donovan, a true conservative?"

"This should be a shoo-in," he said. He called Ryan "a liberal Democrat defense attorney" who is "not qualified" to be district attorney. "He is certainly not a conservative," said Master Sr. Realtor Fran Reali also spoke in Donovan's favor. Realtor George Wonica Jr. nominated Ryan from the floor, saying Ryan had "worked very well with the community" and was "a well respected attorney."  Arriving at The Road House after the vote, Ryan said he was "honored and humbled" by the endorsement. "This is not about one party, but about what's best for Staten Island," he told the Advance. "The Conservative Party recognizes that I'm the best person moving forward to lead the office." The Conservative line is a boost to Ryan's candidacy and also deprives Donovan of a spot where Democrats, notoriously reluctant to vote on the GOP line, can vote for him. Ragucci said he still believes that rank-and-file Conservatives will vote for Donovan. There are 4,395 registered Conservatives in the county, according to the state Board of Elections.  Incoming Republican chairman Robert Scamardella said Republicans will "double down on their efforts to get an extraordinary prosecutor re-elected." The borough Independence and Working Families parties have not yet made an endorsement in the race.   blog.silive.com/politics/

11 comments:

nyc resident said...

So District Attorney Donvan does the right ethical thing and the head political hack in town gets pissed. I'm considering moving to Staten Island so I can vote for Donavan. How do you get to Staten Island, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Double Cross, these pols are cheap whores

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2