The New York City Council approved a measure Thursday that will bar people convicted of abusing the public trust from holding office again in the Big Apple — effectively barring ex-con Hiram Monserrate from mounting his latest bid to reboot his scandal-plagued political career.
The legislation will prevent anyone who has been convicted of crimes while in office, including bribery, defrauding the government, larceny of public funds and extortion, from seeking citywide office again.
“Serving the public in elected office is a privilege, not a right, and we should treat it like one. Today, when trust in government is at an all-time low, the last thing we need are elected officials who use their position of power to enrich themselves or their friends, get caught, and then come back looking for more,” said Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan, chief author of the bill.
“We have enormous challenges facing us as a city, and now more than ever, we need elected officials who seek public office because they are determined to build a better future for New Yorkers. With today’s vote, we send a message to those who wish to use an elected office to abuse the public trust: corruption is not welcome in New York City. And you don’t get a second chance to betray New Yorkers.”
The measure passed by a vote of 44-1 with controversial Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. casting the lone nay vote. There was one abstention, Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera. Both are pals of Monserrate.
Diaz Sr. previously served with Monserrate in the state Senate.
Cabrera, a candidate for borough president, had criticized the bill when it first appeared before the governmental operations committee, which he chairs.
In 2012, Monserrate pled guilty to misappropriating public funds earmarked for a not-for-profit group during his time as a City Councilman and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.
Monserrate has been trying to return to elected office since he was expelled from the state Senate in 2010 after also being convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge involving his ex-girlfriend.
Monserrate, reached by phone, declined comment and referred questions to a spokesman, who previously claimed the legislation unfairly targeted the former Queens lawmaker.
The ex-con has already lost four other comeback races for the Senate, Assembly and City Council in Queens, including against incumbent Councilman Francisco Moya in 2017 and Assemblyman Jeff Aubry last year.
He’s attempting a rematch against Moya.
Monserrate was elected district leader in 2018 and still has loyal backers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. Last year, he called Monserrate a “vampire” who doesn’t deserve to be in public office.
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