Republican NYC candidate George McDonald is sticking by his claim in the wake of the ballot bribery scandal that all five of the city’s GOP chairmen – including Manhattan’s Dan Isaacs – were looking for “somebody who had a big pile of money” while interviewing potential contenders for their ballot line in the upcoming election.

McDonald told the New York Times he had met four of the county chairs and Queens GOP Vice Chair Vince Tabone at a restaurant in East Harlem last August in hopes of (ahem) selling them on his candidacy.

Two attendees at that dinner – Tabone and Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino – were arrested this week in connection with Sen. Malcolm Smith’s effort to bribe his way onto the GOP ballot in the mayor’s race. Three others – Isaacs, Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton and former Staten Island GOP Chairman Robert Scamardella insisted they knew nothing about the bribery scheme and were never contacted by the feds about it.

Yesterday, Isaacs sent an email to Manhattan Republicans in an attempt to reassure them of his innocence and insisting that there is no other “shoe to drop.” Last night, at his “spring fling” fund-raiser, Isaacs lit into McDonald, (who wasn’t present), insisting his story is “absolutely categorically untrue.”

“The only questions that were asked of him that night was, ‘Do you have the money to dependably run a race for the mayor of the City of New York?’” Isaacs told City&State’s Nick Powell. “That was it, and it was absolutely a legitimate question for any party leader to ask somebody who’s running for office. What he said was absolute BS and I’ll tell him so.”

Isaacs also said he has long supported John Catsimatidis to get the GOP nod.

Even though McDonald and unnamed sources cited by City&State say Isaacs was one of the few insiders pushing for Smith to run on the GOP line, he did tell me back in August 2012 that he was not open to Smith’s candidacy, despite the fact that the Queens Democrat was having talks about running with state Chairman Ed Cox.

McDonald, however, is sticking by his story. He issued the following statement this afternoon:

“I stand by my statement to the New York Times. The fact is despite Senator Smith’s clear history of ethical lapses and blatant disregard for the law, Chairman Isaacs was one of Malcom’s biggest early boosters.”

“Moreover, in one of the wealthiest places in the world, Dan has somehow managed to oversee a local party bankrupt both ideologically and financially. But for the largesse of another billionaire benefactor, also running for Mayor, Dan wouldn’t have a party apparatus to run.”

“The Republican Party deserves better, our city deserves better. From day one, I have been running for Mayor as an outsider. As Mayor, I will serve the people and won’t be beholden to party leaders for patronage, donations or favors.”

“No more bribes. No more scandals. No more patronage. No more sellouts. Personal responsibility is the Republican credo and I will honor it not just in words, but in actions. We welcome anyone to our campaign who is tired of the status quo and will support a candidate who is willing to stand up against a dysfunctional system that is prone to corruption and favors the super wealthy or career politicians.”