Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Monday her office plans to investigate whether any laws were violated when a government contractor arranged and paid for vacation trips for County Executive Edward Mangano and a top Oyster Bay official.
A Newsday investigation published Monday reported that Harendra Singh, a Bethpage restaurateur who has concession contracts with Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay, organized and paid for two trips to the Caribbean for Mangano and his family in 2012 and 2013. Sources say the Mangano family attended one of the trips to the Turks and Caicos, while the other may have been canceled. Singh's attorney has said Mangano and Singh vacationed together and split costs.
Documents obtained by Newsday indicate Singh also paid for three trips taken by Oyster Bay Deputy Town Attorney Frederick Mei to India and South Korea in 2010 and 2012. Records do not indicate if Mei, who was involved in negotiating concession contracts between the town and Singh, reimbursed the costs. Singh also paid for at least four car service trips for Oyster Bay Town Attorney Leonard Genova and his son in 2011 and 2013 from Long Island to Manhattan, according to documents. Oyster Bay's outside counsel said Genova later paid the car service $1,650 to cover the cost of the trips.
In a statement Monday, Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the story included "unwarranted inferences that are completely misleading, inaccurate and convey a false impression." Nevin referred all questions to Mangano's private attorney, Kevin Keating of Garden City, who said he had "no further comment at this time."
Singas, running against Republican Kate Murray for district attorney, said in statement: "My office will review and investigate these troubling reports." Murray campaign spokesman Bill Corbett said Murray couldn't comment on whether she would investigate the trips if she were elected district attorney but she "will investigate all cases that fall under the purview of the office."
Michael Scotto, a Manhattan attorney running against Singas in a Democratic primary, said if elected, he would "investigate these matters before they got on the front page of Newsday."
Nassau Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said Newsday's report, which comes amid scrutiny of the county's contracting process, illustrates the need for reforms like disclosure of relationships between contractors and county officials. Mangano's wife, Linda, and son have worked for Singh's companies.
A spokesman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said she declined to comment. Oyster Bay's Republican town council did not return calls for comments. A spokesman for the town's Democratic Party said Singh's relationships with Mei and Genova were "the absolute definition of cronyism."