Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs has filed a third complaint with the state Elections Board, alleging that Republican County Executive Edward Mangano's re-election campaign collected illegal contributions and made questionable payments to his chief deputy and other staff.
Citing the state board's lack of action on Jacobs' previous two complaints, his attorney, Steven Schlesinger, wrote in a letter Thursday that the state agency "has displayed precisely the same inertia and systematic dysfunction for which it was excoriated by the Moreland Commission Report."
Schlesinger copied the complaint to state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and to the co-chairs of the Moreland Commission, a state panel created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to investigate public corruption. The commission's preliminary report in December said the Board of Elections fails to police the use of campaign funds. The panel recommended stricter rules for raising campaign contributions and tougher penalties for misusing the money.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said, "All contributions were legally reported and this is nothing less than a continual smear campaign by Democrat political boss Jay Jacobs . . . "
Jacobs' complaint alleges that Friends of Ed Mangano last year took in more than $13,500 in contributions from nine corporations that exceeded state limits. Jacobs previously accused the campaign committee of collecting $70,000 above corporate limits in 2012 and says in the current complaint that the committee "has not completely refunded all of the illegal corporate contributions" identified then.
Jacobs accused the committee of obscuring its spending by including unitemized lump-sum payments in reports filed with the state. He cites a "highly unusual" $17,000 payment labeled "wages" to Mangano's chief deputy county executive Rob Walker and expenses listed as "other" to Nevin.
He also complains that the Hicksville Republican Club, run by Walker, continues to make payments, totaling more than $140,000 since January 2012, to a company identified as KKL Associates Inc. for "professional services."
The payments "are highly suspicious in that they appear to be directed to a residential apartment that is alleged and believed to be rented by Kristin DiCerbo, a former assistant to Walker who left her employment with Nassau County in Dec. 2011," the complaint alleges. It says KKL has no "online presence" and has not been paid by any other political campaign or committee in the state.
DiCerbo could not be reached. Walker in the past has denied that the payments went to DiCerbo.Jacobs first complained in September 2012 that Mangano and Walker were using the Hicksville club as a secret source of funds for Mangano's re-election campaign, which Mangano and Walker denied. Jacobs amended his complaint to include the allegations of illegal corporate contributions. Nevin again denied any wrongdoing and said the campaign would take the necessary steps to address contributions that exceeded state limits.