"America's Top Heathen" Dan Halloran Arrested in Sweeping Political Bribery Investigation

DanHalloran.jpg
New York City's most colorful councilman nabbed in bribery scandal.
The outline of the story is bizarre enough in its own right: A Democratic state senator plans to run for mayor of New York City as a Republican, and attempts to bribe GOP county leaders to support his effort, only to be arrested and charged when it turns out the real estate tycoon financing his bribery plan is actually an undercover FBI agent.

That's the scenario sketched out in the federal complaint against state Sen. Malcolm Smith and five others unsealed by prosecutors this morning. The whole document is worth reading--there's plenty of juicy material in the charges, which are full of secret parking-lot meetings, phony real estate deals, mail fraud, and more.

Whoever wrote the official statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office was certainly excited about it:

"Today's charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself."

The FBI's statement is equally colorful, describing an incriminating episode involving Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Vice Chariman Vincent Tabone this way:

After a series of meetings to negotiate the price for their approval, Savino and Tabone each met with Halloran and the undercover--at separate times, in the same restaurant--to receive their payoffs from the undercover. This was Valentine's Day, but the way to their hearts wasn't a box of chocolates or a dozen roses. It was cold hard cash in an envelope.

When Tabone, the Queens Republican vice chairman, was asked if he could deliver the Wilson-Pakula letter, he boasted, "Nobody else runs the party. I run the party."

Clearly aware the scheme was illegal, Tabone patted down the undercover to see if he was wearing a recording device. He was--but Tabone was less skilled at conducting a pat-down than he was at conducting a shakedown.

But arguably the best part of the whole story is that the man Smith tapped to broker his doomed bribery scheme is none other than New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, whom Voice readers may remember from Steven Thrasher's 2011 profile, "America's Top Heathen."

As the Voice reported, Halloran, a Tea Party politician representing the 19th City Council District in Queens, identified as a "Theodish Heathen."

Halloran was no garden-variety pagan. He was the "First Atheling," or prince, of his own Theodish tribe, called New Normandy. He had "thralls" who swore their allegiance to him. He didn't just spend weekends reconstructing the religious activities of the pre-Christian Norse and Germanic gods--he led his flock, about 100 people at its height, in their polytheistic celebration of the gods (plural). They'd gather for "blot" (sacrifice and feast), "sumble" ("boast and toast of the gods"), and play games that, to the outside eye, looked like something from Dungeons & Dragons or a Renaissance fair.

Halloran, a former police officer, had recently endorsed the mayoral campaign of Republican and former Giuliani Rat-Czar Joe Lhota. Tabone, meanwhile, was a campaign adviser to another Republican mayoral candidate, John Catsimatidis, as well as the in-house counsel to his company, which owns the Gristedes grocery chain.

Meanwhile, Smith himself was a key piece of the rogue faction of Democrats that allied with Senate Republicans to give the GOP effective control of the chamber. His replacement is unlikely to cut a similar deal, leaving the future balance of power in Albany up in the air.

As Capital's Azi Paybarah notes, the implications of this investigation will take "weeks, if not months," to resolve.

This mayoral election cycle is still young, but it is already shaping up to be one of the most peculiar and exciting in a long time.

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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18 comments
bond_jason84
bond_jason84

and for the village voice being a liberal paper you look like bigots too me.

bond_jason84
bond_jason84

Even Heathen kindred is different and so is every heathen this really has pissed me off and the picture is very insulting. Do no think since we are heathens we do not get mad too if you did a picture making fun of Christian, Jewish, or Muslin you would have about it. Do not stereotype us because you know nothing about us or our beliefs and since we are a minority.
 Here is a little something about us Heathens we are good people that fallow the 9 noble virtues. True heathens are excepting of everyone race, sex, sexuality and religious belief, We are excepting of people and there differences. We like to live in peace with others and the world around us and stick to ourselves but we are also warriors, fighters we do not kneel we stand to the end. We honor our friends, family, ancestors and the gods. So do not pick on our belief we survived the Romans, we survived the Christians, We survived the Nazi's and  blasphemous, The ignorance, hatred and bigotry of people making many of us have to hide our beliefs. and you Voice seem to be one of does the spread such stupidity.

shadocelot
shadocelot

The Voice should be aware that they have just offended any Heathen who happens to look at this article.  The picture you've used as a caption is deeply insulting and I would recommend its removal.

MichaelElamson
MichaelElamson

The alleged ethics violations conflict with Heathen values, which demand honesty and integrity. If the Voice wanted to explore that issue, there could be a good article in it. And it's really the only way his religious beliefs have anything to do with the story. 


As it is, the Voice seems to be content with gratuitous mockery. I suppose that's easier than doing real journalism.

gdewar
gdewar

Nick Pinto, just because the pagan in question is a Republican doesn't make it right to mock his religion, and to defame all pagans in the process.

If you published a picture like that ridiculing Jewish religious rites, there would be an outcry, as well there should be.  The Voice is not a place people go to get their bigotry.  For that we have Fox News.

daviddylanharris
daviddylanharris

@shadocelot I don't know much about "Heathens," but apparently they are self-absorbed idiots with nothing better to do that get offended at nothing.

daviddylanharris
daviddylanharris

@MichaelElamson Heathen values? Are you even listening to yourself?  This is America. No one has to give a crap about your religion, especially one you just made up.

daviddylanharris
daviddylanharris

@Randgrithr No one is misrepresenting you "faith." The dude is a scumbag and he also publicly declares himself a "heathen," so the two things get mentioned in the article.  When a Catholic priest is busted molesting kids, you don't hear Catholics saying "why is the news misrepresenting our values?"  Nobody's values include being a scumbag.

daviddylanharris
daviddylanharris

@gdewar Oh, so we should mock him because he's a REPUBLICAN.  Good, as long as we get our bigotry straight.

MrBlah
MrBlah

@daviddylanharriss  Heathens draw from the pre-Christian religions of Scandanavia, Germany and England. Heathenry has been somewhat modified from those ancient practices to fit our times, but it is no more "made up" than is Judaism or Christianity.

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