Brow-beating has yet to stop disgraced Queens pol from seeking redemption

Photo by Mark Hallum

After a 2017 run for City Council, convicted felon Hiram Monserrate is back in the public eye — despite being the inspiration for other politicians to try to ban disgraced elected officials from ever holding office again.

Monserrate filed to run against Queens Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry this week (and was elected as a Democratic district leader over the summer), so the headlines are flowing — and so is the criticism.

Since 2010, when Monserrate was expelled from the State Senate for slashing his girlfriend in the face with a piece of glass, he has been on a persistent quest for political office.

The late Jose Peralta ran for the seat in a special election against a defiant Monserrate and emerged the winner by a landslide. Monserrate went on to do two years in prison for stealing from public funds during his tenure in the City Council between 2002 and 2008.

A fruitless second bid for City Council in 2017 – after serving his time – was waylaid by now-Councilman Francisco Moya, who left his Assembly seat much like Peralta had done in 2010.

“A convicted domestic abuser and disgraced politician convicted of stealing taxpayer money wants to go after a man who is synonymous with the social justice movement in this state and who ushered in some of the most significant criminal justice reforms we’ve ever seen? Assemblyman Jeff Aubry is a pillar of dignity and public service,” Moya said. “This challenge is a joke.”

But interceptions and ejections have not been the only play by politicians to keep Monserrate on the outside looking in.

In early 2018, a bill introduced by Councilman Ritchie Torres (which Moya backed) set out to ban disgraced politicians regaining elected office in the city.

Almost two years later, Torres’ bill has yet to get a committee hearing and as such has never reached the City Council chamber for a vote.

A spokesman for Torres said it is anyone’s guess when the bill will move forward and could happen anytime between now and 2021. Whether or not it gets a hearing date could either be up to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson or committee chairs.

This bill still would not bar Monserrate from winning a state office.

Mark Hallum