Correction on Spencer-Wiretap Statement

 

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Bill O'Reilly 212-681-0055, 212-396-9117
STATEMENT BY WILLIAM O'REILLY ON JOHN SPENCER AND FBI WIRETAP May 22, 2006 Correction: The reputed Gambino associate's name is Gregory DePalma, not Anthony DePalma. Sorry for the mistake. "In a conversation secretly recorded on a FBI wiretap in July 2004, reputed Gambino crime family Captain Gregory DePalma-now on trial in Manhattan federal court-was taped saying that John Spencer, while mayor of Yonkers, was paid off $50,000 in stolen money, according to a July 2, 2005 report published in The Journal News (story below), which obtained a copy of the tape. "I believe that Mr. Spencer has carefully omitted this information in discussions about his candidacy with Republican Party leaders and activists over the past year. Those leaders and activists, by every measure of fairness, should have been warned that Mr. Spencer's candidacy could carry into a race of such significance to the Republican Party this serious potential
liability. Instead, he kept Party leaders in the dark about something that could bring grave embarrassment and harm to the entire Republican ticket in 2006. It was his responsibility to divulge this information and he did not. "There are nine days remaining before the Republican Convention in Garden City and it is incumbent on Mr. Spencer to explain this situation to leaders and delegates now, before they vote on whom they want to represent them in the race against Hillary Rodham Clinton in November. It is a simple matter of fairness. "Mrs. Clinton's positions on issues should be the focus of this Senate campaign, not FBI wiretaps. It is a distraction the Republican Party does not need. Mr. Spencer has had every opportunity to address this matter with delegates during the past year, but chose not to. He should immediately answer questions arising from these tapes, including:


  • What, if anything, is your relationship with Mr. De Palma?;

  • Why did Mr. De Palma say you were paid off $50,000?;

  • Have you been questioned yet by law enforcement authorities about this?;

  • Is there an ongoing investigation?;

  • Why did you not tell Party leaders about this?

  • Do you think Party leaders have a right to know something like this while they are assessing a candidate for a high office?

  • Did you expect this not to come up in a race against Hillary Clinton, when this story can be found through a simple Google search?;

  • How do you plan to explain this in a race against Mrs. Clinton, where it is virtually certain to come up?;

  • Was your silence fair to Party leaders who could have been blindsided by this in October, a month before the general election?

###William O'Reilly is a spokesman for KT McFarland for Senate

Ex-Yonkers mayor got payouts, mobster claims By GLENN BLAIN AND TIMOTHY O'CONNORgblain@lohud.comTHE JOURNAL NEWS(Original publication: July 2, 2005) The same FBI recordings that caught mobsters talking about Albert Pirro Jr. also contain a discussion about former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and two others receiving tens of thousands of dollars in stolen money. Reputed Gambino crime figure Gregory DePalma, in a conversation recorded at an Eastchester diner in July 2004, tells an associate that a person named "Zehy" engineered the looting of a concrete plant and turned some of the money over to Spencer, former City Council President Vincenza Restiano and another person referred to only as "the Italian exec." "He gave $50,000 to Spencer, for his campaign fund," DePalma says in the recorded conversation, a copy of which was obtained by The Journal News. "He gave, uh, uh, to the Italian exec maybe $150,000. Uh, he gave t
o Restiano maybe $35,000." Spencer, who left office at the end of 2003 and has announced plans to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006, and Restiano both flatly rejected the accusations contained in the recording. Neither they nor Pirro have been charged with any crime in connection with the investigation. "Somebody gave me $50,000, it is news to me," Spencer said. "It sounds like ridiculous gibberish to me." A check of Spencer's campaign filings at the Westchester Board of Elections also found no evidence of such a sizable donation. Restiano, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Yonkers in 2003, said she could "never imagine anyone donating that kind of money to my campaign." The recording was part of a larger FBI investigation into organized crime. DePalma, of Scarsdale, and more than 30 others, including Robert Persico, also of Scarsdale, were arrested March 9 in a sweeping federal indictment that included charges of assault
, extortion and loan sharking. A tape containing DePalma's conversation about Spencer was given to The Journal News by a person with ties to state Republicans. Federal law-enforcement sources confirmed to the newspaper that the recording was authentic. Coming at a time when Spencer is feverishly working to build support for his nascent Senate candidacy, news of the FBI recording could be damaging for the Republican and ensnare him in the same sort of controversy that came about after it was revealed that Pirro was mentioned in a similar FBI recording. Albert Pirro is the husband of Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, who harbors statewide ambitions of her own. According to published reports, DePalma was recorded by the FBI saying that Albert Pirro tipped off Persico about his wife's case against a Mamaroneck police officer. The Pirros vehemently denied the accusations. Albert Pirro described DePalma as a "self-styled Tony Soprano" and
a "buffoon." He also has initiated a slander lawsuit against Persico. Albert Pirro did not return a telephone call seeking comment about the Spencer conversation. Jeanine Pirro's office also declined to comment. Jeanine Pirro announced in May that she would not run for re-election as district attorney and, instead, would seek statewide office next year. Several Republican leaders have encouraged her to run for U.S. Senate, which could set up a primary battle against Spencer. Spencer said he doubted that the tape would damage his Senate candidacy and declined to speculate on why it was leaked to the newspaper. "Who knows what silly games political opponents play," Spencer said. "There have got to be people out there who do not like John Spencer. If they want to play silly games, let them. So be it. The people will see right through it." It is uncertain from the recorded conversation which concrete plant DePalma was referring to, and he
does not further identify "Zehy," except to describe him as a "frustrated politician." Yonkers Republican Chairman Zehy Jereis, whose name recently surfaced in another FBI investigation, referred all questions about DePalma to his attorney, Vincent Gelardi, who did not return two telephone calls seeking comment. In May, Maurizio "Mo" Sanginiti, an admitted extortionist, testified that he gave Jereis more than $5,000 to get information from someone connected to the Westchester district attorney's office. In an FBI document, Sanginiti named Albert Pirro Jr. as Jereis' source. Albert Pirro vehemently denied talking to Jereis about any investigations. Gelardi, at the time, called Sanginiti's allegations "absurd." Spencer and Restiano both cited their past feuds with Jereis and the city's GOP leadership as further proof that DePalma's entire tale is bogus. Restiano blamed Jereis for helping to derail her mayoral candidacy by switching allegiance t
o then-Assemblyman Michael Spano, who entered the race just months before the GOP primary. "With all my fighting with the Republican Party, I never got so much as $100 from them, nevertheless $50,000," Spencer said.

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