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Jay Savino, ex-Clarkstown consultant, quits as Bronx GOP chief after sting arrest

Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino, of

Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino, of Clarkstown, second from right leaves federal court in White Plains. Savino and a Democratic state lawmaker were arrested along with four other politicians Tuesday in an alleged plot to pay tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to GOP bosses to let the Democratic State lawmaker run for mayor of New York City as a Republican. (April 2, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

Joseph "Jay" Savino, a White Plains lawyer and Congers resident, has resigned as Bronx County Republican Committee chairman in the wake of a widening political corruption scandal.

The Clarkstown town board last week ousted Savino as a legal consultant after details of the scandal became public.

Savino was arrested April 2 and accused of accepting $40,000 in bribes to help Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith win the Republican nomination in the upcoming New York City mayoral race.

The FBI arrested Smith along with Vincent Tabone, who was accused as Savino's co-conspirator. Tabone resigned as Queens County Republican vice chairman last week. Republican New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, who lost a congressional race last year, also faces charges in connection with the election bribery case. He is now running for re-election to his council seat.

The state Republican party announced that John Greaney, former supervisor of poll site development and election day operations at the Bronx office of the New York City Board of Elections, will fill the remainder of Savino's term.

Savino, 45, was among a half dozen political figures arrested in Rockland County and New York City linked to Rockland County real estate developer Moses "Mark" Stern, who has been helping the FBI run a sting operation for at least two years.

Reached Monday morning, Savino, who also has a home in the Bronx, said that he was unable to discuss the case. "I can't make on-the-record comments," he said.

Asked for the name of his legal representative, Savino said he was still interviewing attorneys.

Savino was appointed to handle tax-challenge cases for the Town of Clarkstown in early 2012. The contract job came with an $87,000-a-year retainer. His appointment was renewed in December with a slight pay boost.

Clarkstown Taxpayers, a property-tax watchdog group, had questioned Savino's appointment and sought documents from town officials about potential competitive bids for the contract job.

"The answers we got were evasive and dismissive," said Michael Hull, a 70-year-old retired scientist who lives in Bardonia.

That corruption probe also led to the arrests last week of Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret in an alleged bribery plot involving the building of a community center next to the village hall.

Jasmin, 49, and Desmaret, 55, have been charged with mail fraud for allegedly rigging a 2012 vote by the village's five-member board of trustees so she could meet with Stern to discuss developing the 2.25 acres for the center. She did not disclose that she had a stake in the company seeking to handle the project.

The corruption case has sent tremors through Albany, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a potential presidential candidate, campaigned as a clean government candidate.

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox welcomed Greaney to his new post.

"As a distinguished public servant, Chairman Greaney is the perfect person to lead Bronx County during this period. I'm thrilled to welcome him to the team," he said.

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