It was announced that John Haggerty, who for years was locked in a struggle for control of the Queens Republican Party with the late Phil Ragusa and his camp, has joined the Donald Trump campaign.
Haggerty will act as a consultant to the Trump campaign, offering up his insight on the political scene in Queens and the rest of New York City. He was hired by Carl Paladino, the fiery Buffalo native who once ran for governor against Andrew Cuomo.
Paladino is in charge of Trump's New York campaign.
The addition of Haggerty is actually making news outside of local political circles, with papers across the nation and even in the United Kingdom picking up on the hire.
If the name John Haggerty rings a bell, you might remember him as the guy a jury found guilty of stealing $750,000 from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which is the main reason it's making such big news.
According to the charges, Haggerty convinced the loaded former mayor to donate the money in 2009 to the Independence Party, pledging to provide Election Day services such as polling and voting security.
Instead, Haggerty took the money and used it to buyout his family's Forest Hills home. He was convicted of second-degree grand larceny and money laundering and ordered to spend ten months in jail. He also had to pay back the $750,000, which we're sure Bloomberg wasn't sweating.
At the time, Haggerty reportedly told the court that the charges had ruined his reputation in political circles, but apparently it didn't hurt his standing with Paladino, who Haggerty also worked for on his 2010 gubernatorial run.
According to the New York Post, the Trump campaign called Haggerty “the most honest and knowledgeable person in New York politics” and Paladino reportedly said Haggerty's role on Team Trump would be to advise and “keep me in line.”
As for the aforementioned power struggle in the Republican Party, Haggerty and his brother Bart along with a slew of south Queens Republicans finally gained a measure of control over the Queens County GOP after the death of Ragusa and the conviction of one of the top members of his Executive Committee in connection with a bribery charge.
A compromise eventually named former congressman Bob Turner as chairman.
Since then, we've heard that the compromise and any perceived notions of equal influence within the county party that might have been hammered out have fallen by the wayside, and the party could be headed once again toward a stalemate between disparate factions.
A Facebook page for something called the Queens Republican Council appeared last month and then was very quickly taken down, and sources tell us that formerly high-ranking members of the Executive Committee have left the party to join similar-minded political groups like the Independence and Conservative parties.
But for now, it looks like John Haggerty will have to put all that on hold while he works to make Donald Trump the next president.