Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife, Linda, and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto have been indicted on federal charges that will be unsealed Thursday, prosecutors said.
Multiple New York news outlets quoting anonymous sources reported Wednesday that Mangano, a two-term Republican from Bethpage, would be charged in connection with the investigation into a Syosset restaurateur who’s been indicted for fraud and bribing a Town of Oyster Bay official.
“County Executive Mangano has the highest integrity, has done nothing wrong, has not been contacted and the accusations are preposterous,” Mangano’s spokesman, Brian Nevin, told the Press Wednesday night. After prosecutors confirmed the indictment Thursday morning, Nevin directed calls to Mangano’s criminal defense attorney, Kevin Keating.
Long Island state Senators Jack Martins, Carl Marcellino and Kemp Hannon, holding a press conference outside the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola Thursday morning, called on Mangano and Venditto to resign for the good of Nassau County and urged legislators and Oyster Bay Town Board to immediately begin the transition process to replace the indicted elected officials and ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.
“The public process has to continue,” Martins said, adding that it’s important government work continue “undistracted.”
“This is a sad day. It caught all of us by surprise,” said Marcellino, adding both must resign because “the people come first.”
Hannon echoed their sentiment and said there should be “zero tolerance” for corruption.
Nassau Republican Chair Joe Mondello did not return a request for comment.
Nassau County Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs released the following statement regarding the arrests:
“This is a sad day for Nassau County and a sad day for Ed Mangano, John Venditto and their families. While we are adversaries in politics, I take no comfort or pleasure in what has happened today. If these allegations are true, they will represent a great widespread betrayal of the voters’ trust. Regardless of the legal outcome, there can no longer be any doubt that ‘business as usual’ in Nassau County politics and government must come to an end. The public’s demand for honest, credible and effective government requires it.”
WNBC New York broke the story, which the other New York metro newspapers later reported, citing unnamed sources suggesting that the charges have to do with favors from Harendra Singh, who was arrested last year. It’s unclear if the reported probe has anything to do with prior revelations in the county.
Chief Deputy Nassau County Executive Rob Walker said last year that federal investigators were probing his acceptance of donations from county contractors to Mangano’s re-election campaign. Walker testified as much while on the stand at the corruption trial of ex-New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was convicted of fraud and other charges for, among other things, using his power to help secure a $12 million Nassau contract for a company that paid his son, Adam Skelos, who was also found guilty at trial. Both the father and son are appealing their convictions.
Federal corruption investigations on Long Island of late haven’t been limited to Nassau, either. Across the county line, James Burke, the former Suffolk County chief of police, pleaded guilty in February to beating a suspect and orchestrating a cover up. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2.
Former Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh was convicted in March of theft and fraud for golfing, gambling and politicking while on the clock at his job as a county corrections lieutenant. He is appealing his conviction and scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18.
Both the Burke and Walsh cases have reportedly spawned a federal investigation into the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, which prompted Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to call on Spota to resign in May—a call Spota rebuffed.