Former Queens Republican Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone is no stranger to controversy, he has long had a reputation among fellow Republicans as a back-stabber and an opportunist who has no aversion to breaking the rules to get what he wants. No one was particularly surprised when FBI agents arrested him last April on bribery charges.
“Vince is duplicitous,” said another Queens Republican at the time of his arrest. “He’s a backstabber. I don’t mind people who stand up for what they believe in. But he will smile, and shake your hand, and then lie.”
After his arrest, Queens Republican chairman Phil Ragusa successfully demanded Tabone’s resignation from his post as Vice Chair.
Tabone was arrested after agreeing to get state Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, into the Republican primary for mayor of New York if Smith paid him $25,000.
As an illustration of his complete lack of ethics, Tabone was at the time on the payroll of another Republican primary candidate, John Catsimatidis a billionaire grocery mogul. He was receiving a salary of $100,000 as a lawyer for Catsimatidis’ grocery business The Red Apple, and also had a deal with him for another $30,000 in consulting fees in his primary run.
Catsimatidis also fired him the day after his arrest saying, “Am I angry at Vince? Let me tell you . . . I don’t get angry. People destroy themselves.”
He did not know at the time how right he was. Tabone was arrested based on evidence obtained by the FBI due to a wire worn by an informant, capturing Tabone telling the informant “I run the Queens County Republican Party, nobody else runs the party.”
With his trial set to begin in June, Tabone is back in the news, this time requesting that the trial be put off until at least October because he is worried that if it takes place in the summer, it will adversely impact on Republican candidates in the November elections and give an unfair advantage to Democratic candidates.
In a letter to White Plains Federal Judge Kenneth Karas, a George W. Bush appointee, Tabone’s lawyer, Deborah Misir, wrote:
[box type=”shadow”]“The necessary witnesses to such a trial may include the Republican Party chairmen of the state and county Republican committees in New York. Subjecting the Republican Party, its officials and internal political strategies to intense scrutiny, while sparing the Democratic Party, would unfairly undermine Republican Party candidates in the general election.
Questioning of party official witnesses will directly impact federal and state elections being held in New York by selectively exposing Republican Party strategy, the negotiation of cross-party endorsements for Republican candidates. In short, it could devolve into a political circus aimed at the Republican Party and its federal and state candidates.”[/box]
The elections in the state will be high stakes this year. There is a gubernatorial race as well as Attorney General and state senate and assembly seats — not to mention the fact that all 27 of the state’s House seats are up for election as well.
To be fair, Senator Smith has made a similar request citing a possible negative impact on his bid to retain his seat in the state Senate.