Cash Exchanged; Feathers Ruffled; A New Political Reality
NEW YORK, NY and YONKERS, NY — Anthony Mangone, the one-time attorney, disbarred since the Spring of 2011, took to the witness stand in Judge Colleen McMahon’s courtroom today as part of the government’s alleged charges of corruption and bribery against defendants Sandy Annabi, former Yonkers City Councilwoman, and Zehy Jereis, former Yonkers Republican Chairman. Of the many issues covered in the early interrogation of Mr Mangone by Anthony Siano, Mr Jereis’ legal counsel, was the episode in which in the year 2006, then Senator Nick Spano was running as the incumbent for New York State Senate against Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Senator Nick Spano needed to gain the support of minor party lines in order to enhance his chances for winning in a New York State Senate District that was regarded to have an overwhelming roster of registered voters who saw themselves more closely affiliated with the Democratic Party line. The only way to reign in the imbalance of voters registered to the one party, was for then Senator Nick Spano to seek support from the other minority party lines. He sought out the Conservative Party, the Independence Party, the Working Families Party, the Right to Life party, and any other party lines that may have existed.
As the election campaign efforts from every facet of the political spectrum would heat up, it was recognized that forces involved in the Westchester County Independence Party were undergoing internal strife. An internal heierarchy of protagonists were plotting a coup d’état in order to wrestle the party chair, Dr. Giulio Cavallo, from continuing to maintain political control.
The “mutineers,” who considered themselves reformers to the alleged “corruption” of Dr Cavallo, coalesced around the well-known, and well-respected educator Nader Sayegh, in a reorganization effort that had the likes of John Khader, owner of Top Class Limousine, Joseph Spezio III, a Yonkers developer, Michael Gianatasio, one-time candidate challenging Suzie Oppenheimer in a NYS Senate race, Steven Sacripanti, an ally who had been Administrative Judge Francis Nicolai’s principal court reporter, Dyalma Vasquez, a political supporter and confidante, Irma Drace, secretary to State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Alessandro, Jeff Buss, Esq., of the Yonkers law firm of Smith, Buss & Jacobs LLP, Sam Zherka, publisher of The Westchester Guardian, and Delfim Heusler, publisher of the online Yonkers Insider.
The integrity expressed in words would soon dissipate due to a lack of deeds and vitriole and infighting among the "reformers." Before the exchange of any money took place, Mssrs Zherka and Heusler excised themselves from further involvement with the Westchester Integrity Committee.
The unexpressed tenets of the Westchester Integrity Committee was to cause the collapse of Dr. Cavallo’s hold on the Westchester Independence Party so that those who maintained their political challenge and focus could wrestle control of the reigns of power from Dr Cavallo and deliver the party to Senator Nick Spano. But that was hush hush.
Mr Mangone admitted in court that he asked Milio Management through son Franco Milio, and with full knowledge of founder and father to Franco, Antonio Milio, that cash was required to satisfy the alleged desire of Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis to develop the Longfellow Junior High School, Walgreens, School 6 properties as “designated developers” for their behalf.
Mr Antonio Milio, who delivered four rubber band bundled stacks of $100 bills amounting to $10,000 per bundle, to Mr Mangone, then an attorney, instead used some of the money he garnered, that from the Milio’s, from gambling wins, from client payments made in cash and never reported, but divided among the law firm’s partners, and client escrow accounts, intended to thwart the Westchester County Independence Party from being overthrown by Dr Sayegh winning a challenge against Dr Cavallo. Before an intended $10,000 cash payment could be given to “bribe” and dissuade the Westchester integrity Committee to discontinue their challenge, Dr Sayegh dropped out of the race. Dr Sayegh was played by Nader Sayegh who was engaged in getting petitions for placing the Westchester integrity Committee in contention to challenge Dr Cavallo's Westchester Independence Party. The petitions garnered where chanllenged and found to be fraudulent and were disallowed.
Recognizing Dr. Sayegh was no longer a viable threat, Mr Mangone figured he could pay off Mr Khader $5,000, though it was said in those days to have been as much as $15,000. Nevertheless, Mr Mangone gave Mr Khader $5,000 in cash, and kept the balance for himself.
The $5,000 payment received by Mr Khader would unravel the supposedly close-knit political wannabees of the Westchester integrity Committee. Each individual, to some degree or another, were obsessed with accusing each other of theft of the money they expected to share equally. Mr Mangone got most of the cash and Mr Khader some of it, and Senator Nick Spano lost the political challenge to Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the present incumbent senator of the district.