One Republican City Council candidate is not running on his record — his criminal record, that is.
George Smith, a long shot to succeed Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) in the heavily Democratic district, is currently facing sex abuse charges and served jail time in 1996 for impersonating a police officer while committing a robbery.
Yet even with this rap sheet, and pressure from his opponent and some party officials to spare them the embarrassment of his scandal-scarred bid and, Smith will continue his run for public office.
“Yes, we have volunteers out there now,” Smith told The Brooklyn Paper on Wednesday, the day after he participated in a Transportation Alternatives debate hours after The New York Post reported his legal travails.
Smith is scheduled to appear in Nassau County court on Sept. 9, six days before the primary, for misdemeanor sex abuse, sexual misconduct, forcible touching and harassment from an incident last December involving his estranged wife.
He faces a year in jail, the district attorney’s office said.
“I’m 100 percent innocent,” he said.
Court filings suggest otherwise.
Documents obtained by The Brooklyn Paper show that in March, Nassau County Supreme Court ordered Smith to return $50,005 that he took three months earlier from the joint checking account he shared with his spouse.
“The allegations are false,” Smith said, claiming that his wife fabricated them. The couple is divorcing, he said, and are also mired in a battle for child custody.
Still, as a precaution, Smith said he’s begun recording all his phone conversations and threatened to sue a Brooklyn Paper reporter for disclosing the court order to repay the money that he allegedly pilfered from his bride.
Smith’s legal problems go back to the mid-1990s when he spent a year behind bars for a robbery in Queens in which he posed as a cop.
“I was young and was hanging out with the wrong group of people,” he said.
Luckily, Republicans in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and Borough Park, have a choice at the polls.
Smith’s opponent for the GOP nomination in the decidedly Democratic district is corporate strategist and Little League coach Joe Nardiello who said Smith should drop out of the race.
“I have people who believe in me and an opponent who no one can believe,” said Nardiello, who lives in Carroll Gardens. “He’s capable of deceit at the highest level. … He should probably do the right thing and step down.”
Even if Smith loses the Republican contest, he’ll still be on the ballot in November, because he secured the Conservative Party’s nomination, too.
Smith said that the Conservatives knew about his dark past, but County Chairman Gerard Kassar disagreed.
“Under no circumstances did me or any of the committee members know of George Smith’s criminal past,” said Kassar. “We would not have felt it was appropriate to put a person on the ballot under these circumstances. We’re encouraging Smith to come off the ballot [and] I’m certain there’s nothing we’ll do to support him.”