An ex-Nassau Health Care Corporation (NHCC) executive has been accused of illegally awarding a five-year nursing home laundry service contract worth a half million dollars to his friend’s company four years ago.

Lawrence Slatky, the agency’s former chief operating officer and executive vice president, pleaded not guilty Friday at Nassau County court with two misdemeanor charges of official misconduct for allegedly violating NHCC’s procurement policy.

“I think we’re in very dangerous territory when we can charge people with what can be easily be categorized as a mistake issuing a contract,” said Brian Griffin, Slatky’s Garden City based attorney, who added that his client is not accused of personally profiting from the alleged misconduct.

Prosecutors said NHCC’s purchasing department recommended that the 64-year-old Cold Spring Harbor man split the contract between two companies that were among the lowest responsible bidders to a request for proposals for laundry services at A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in the fall of 2010.

Instead, Slatky allegedly ignored that recommendation and instead awarded half of the contract to FDR Services Corp., which is run by a personal friend of Slatky’s, authorities said. FDR had originally lost the bid for personal laundry services to clean items such as clothing to Ocean Side Institutional Industries, which had bid a lower price, according to investigators.

Ocean Side’s bid totaled approximately $102,000 per year while FDR’s bid came to about $104,000 per year, prosecutors said. Slatky negotiated a new lowest bid from FDR and directed that the personal laundry services contract be awarded to that company, authorities said. That alleged move violated NHCC’s procurement policy, which requires post-bid price reductions only be made with the lowest bidder.

The other half of the contract, for general laundry services to clean items such as linens at the nursing home, was awarded to JVK Operations Ltd. JVK and FDR began their contracts in 2011.

A spokeswoman for NHCC declined to comment.

Judge Philip Grella released Slatky without bail. Slatky faces up to one year in jail for each charge. He is due back in court on Nov. 14

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.