Tom Ognibene, American politician, Died at 72

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Thomas Ognibene, born in 1941 or 1942, and died October 12, 2015.

Tom was an attorney and Republican politician in New York City.

Tom was first elected in 1992 to become a New York City Council member, where he served through 2001, representing the 30th District in Queens, including the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Forest Hills.

Initially blocked by then Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, he was eventually elected as the Council Minority Leader and served in that position from 1994 until 2001.

In the 1980s, Mr. Tom ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative Party candidate for judgeships in Supreme and Civil Courts and for Congress.

Later changing to the Republican Party, he successfully ran for Council and then in a rebuff to Giuliani, he helped to engineer the controversial takeover of the Queens County Republican Party and have his favored candidate elected as Chairman.

His term in office was marred by allegations that surfaced in the Village Voice, and confirmed by the Manhattan District Attorney in the New York Times that Tom and his Chief of Staff were caught on multiple wiretaps with a New York City Department of Buildings official Ronald Lattanzio discussing questionable “pay to play” influence peddling, inside appointments and improperly securing large grants from New York State officials for friends.

Though never formally charged, the allegations were widely believed to have derailed Tom’s desired appointment to a judgeship on the New York Court of Claims that was already approved by the administration of Governor of New York George Pataki.

Originally from Middle Village in Queens, Tom graduated from C.W. Post College in 1966, served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1970 and graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1974.

He was a resident of Queens and was married for 37 years to his wife Margaret who survives him, a former New York City junior high school teacher.

He has two children, Guy and Eve. Tom died of cancer on October 12, 2015 at the age of 72.