Recordings of Long Island lawmakers privately bashing the politicians they praise in public ranks among the spiciest tangents stemming from the federal corruption trial against New York State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).
Skelos, state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) didn’t mince words in commiserating over fellow Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s failed proposal to install electronic billboards on the Long Island Expressway, according to a Jan. 15 wiretapped phone call played last week at Manhattan federal court.
“We try to do whatever we can to help the county,” Skelos told Marcellino as the two complained that Nassau didn’t give them a heads-up about the proposal. “Most of it turns into shit because they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing there. And…we get the crap, and then they do this, and they don’t even tell you.”
It wasn’t the first time the former senate majority leader has been heard on wiretaps played in court candidly expressing his opinions of his fellow lawmakers as opposed to speaking in scripted six-second sound bites like those typically found in press releases with politicians congratulating each other. In a previous call between Skelos and his codefendant son, Adam, also played at the trial, the Nassau Republican said the Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “full of shit.”
In his conversation with Marcellino, neither senator bites his tongue regarding how the Mangano administration and the county legislature has managed cash-strapped Nassau.
“It’s unbelievable with these guys,” Marcellino told Skelos. “They can’t seem to get out of their own way. They see numbers that’s going to give you millions of dollars, and then they jump, ‘Oh, let’s do it.’”
Marcellino said: “When I see Ed Mangano, he’s going to get an earful.” Later, the state senator added: “This is going to be on a state road. You know we’ll get blamed.”
Skelos replied, “yup,” and told Marcellino to call the state Department of Transportation and have the agency reviewing the permits for the billboards to “just kill the fucking thing.”
In another call recorded the same day with state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola)—who had said, “When the community hears about this, they’re probably going to go nuts”—Skelos recalled the county’s aborted roll-out of school-zone speed cameras after Nassau officials had requested that the senators help to get state authorization for them.
“They’re incapable,” Martins replied.
Skelos responded that when he asked Chief Deputy Nassau County Executive Rob Walker—who testified last week at the senator’s trial—why they’re even considering proposals to close the budget gap that have such strong public opposition, Walker had told Skelos that “’we’re desperate.’”