Ex-campaign worker at center of political scandal describes arrest
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A Roosevelt man at the center of the case that prompted the ouster of Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale described Friday his arrest on a county bus three days after testifying in a politically charged election-year case.
Randy White, 29, had collected nominating petitions for Nassau County executive hopeful Andrew Hardwick and testified in early October that the campaign paid him per signature, which is illegal.
White and his father, E. Rassan Hoskins, said his arrest on a misdemeanor warrant came about an hour after two Hardwick associates came to their home to try to get him to change his testimony.
"This is like a movie," White said Friday. " . . . Who knew it was going to take one person as small as me to cause all this trouble?"
White spoke in District Court in Hempstead, where he paid a $250 fine stemming from a case involving bootlegged DVDs, clearing the bench warrant.
White said he was at a bus stop about 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 when a marked police car drove by and an officer made eye contact with him. About 10 minutes later, three plainclothes officers boarded his bus and arrested him on the warrant, he said.
But once police took him to a Baldwin precinct, White said, nothing came up about the misdemeanor case.
White said he was asked what had happened between him and Hardwick. White also said he saw a man he later recognized as Chief of Detectives John Capece at the precinct.
White said that after a few hours, police took him to the booking facility in Mineola, where again police asked him if something was going on between him and Hardwick.
He said a uniformed officer then took his handcuffs off and handed him a subpoena from Hardwick's attorney compelling him to testify again, and told him to put it in his pocket before cuffing him again. Police then took White to the Nassau jail, where he spent the night.
An investigation into White's receipt of the civil subpoena while in custody is continuing, according to the Nassau district attorney's office.
In a letter to Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, outlined findings of an investigation into Dale's involvement in the case. She said the conduct raised serious questions about political influence, but found there was no evidence of crimes being committed by Dale.
Mangano said Thursday that Dale resigned after prosecutors found he personally ordered officers to arrest White; Capece retired when faced with a demotion.
Police Sgt. Sal Mistretta, who Rice said was at a police booking facility in Mineola when White got the subpoena, retired last month.
White, who served three years in prison for attempted robbery in 2002, testified against Hardwick in a civil hearing on Oct. 2 in Nassau State Supreme Court.
Hardwick's campaign later accused White of perjury, even recording a phone call in which they say he admitted being paid legally by the hour. Police found the tape to be inaudible and declined to pursue a criminal charge.
The complaint, however, generated a report, and a sergeant did a background check on the names it in, finding White's warrant.
After White's arrest, his attorney, Robert McDonald, filed a complaint with Rice's office.
McDonald said Friday that he's looking into whether White's federal civil rights were violated.
White said he has met repeatedly with investigators who have included police internal affairs officials. "I want to see the people who tampered with my case get penalized. . . . People in power abused their power," he said.
County spokesman Brian Nevin said Mangano wasn't available for comment on White's statements. Victor Politi, the interim police commissioner, also wasn't available.
Dale, Hardwick and Capece also didn't respond to calls.
Robert La Reddola, an attorney for Mistretta, said his client "retired in good standing after 23 years of service."
Nassau Democrats Friday called for hearings into Rice's findings.
Investigators also are probing the underlying election case and an allegation of perjury against White, Rice spokesman Shams Tarek said.