NEW YORK — Former Queens Borough President Donald Manes, who was forced to resign in a widening bribery scandal, fatally stabbed himself in the heart Thursday night, authorities said.
Manes stabbed himself at his home in Jamaica Estates and was taken to Booth Memorial Medical Center, said police Sgt. John Venetucci.
Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward announced at the hospital that Manes had died.
Ward said that Marlene Manes, the politician's wife, had removed an eight-inch kitchen knife from his chest before an ambulance crew arrived at the house.
'One Stab Wound'
Lou Cafiero, spokesman for the Emergency Medical Service, said Manes "had one stab wound to the chest, which entered his heart. He was in traumatic arrest--he had no vital signs."
Last Jan. 10 police had stopped Manes' car, which was weaving on a highway in Queens, and found him bleeding profusely from wounds in his wrist and ankle.
At first Manes told police he had been kidnaped and attacked. On Jan. 21 he admitted that his wounds had been self-inflicted.
He resigned the borough presidency, as well as the chairmanship of the Queens Democratic Party, on Feb. 11. Before the slashing in January, Manes was one of the most powerful figures in city politics.
Earlier this week, Manes' friend Geoffrey Lindenauer, the former deputy director of the city Parking Violations Bureau, pleaded guilty to racketeering and mail fraud charges. The plea was part of a deal in which Lindenauer agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
A Queens businessman, Michael Dowd, has told prosecutors he paid bribes to Lindenauer at Manes' bidding.
After Dowd's allegations became public, Mayor Edward I. Koch, a friend and once an ally of Manes, called on him to resign.
"I would have staked my life on the honesty of Donald Manes," the mayor said. "But nevertheless, even though he is someone I would have allowed to be the executor of my estate--I've known him for more than 20 years--I am convinced now that he engaged in being a crook."
Manes was first elected in 1971 to fill the unexpired term of Sidney Leviss after Leviss won election to a state Supreme Court seat. Manes was reelected to full four-year terms in the post four times.