Mark Bonilla urged me to flirt, says former aide

Katherine Greco gives testimony in the official misconduct Katherine Greco gives testimony in the official misconduct trial of Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla in Hempstead District Court in Hempstead. (July 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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A former employee of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla said in court Thursday that the clerk made inappropriate comments and promised her rewards for loyalty -- allegations that mirror the testimony of a woman who charged him with sexual harassment.

Katherine Greco, an aide in the town clerk's office from July 2011 to August 2012, said during Bonilla's misconduct trial that Bonilla instructed her to "be flirty with people" at town events. Bonilla said there would be rewards -- and possibly a new job when he ran for Congress, which he was then planning.

"He told me that he could get me $20 an hour and eventually full-time if I did what he needed," said Greco, who has since quit her part-time, $10-per-hour job.

Bonilla is charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petty larceny, stemming from accusations that he attempted to obtain intimate photographs of the complainant after she filed the harassment charge. The complainant was named in court, but Newsday has withheld her name because of the sexual nature of the allegations.

Bonilla's attorney, Adrian DiLuzio of Mineola, said Greco's allegations that Bonilla told her to act flirtatious were not compelling. He has also said Bonilla's accuser misinterpreted his intentions as sexual.

"Did you think you would be doing your job well if you sneered at the senior citizens?" DiLuzio asked Greco in court. She replied, "No."

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Earlier Thursday, Hempstead special investigator Raymond Enright testified that a town investigation found Bonilla threatened a male employee with a job transfer if he did not supply intimate photographs of the accuser. The male employee had been in a romantic relationship with the accuser.

Bonilla told the employee, "If he didn't give him the photographs, he wouldn't be able to keep him in his office because of a loyalty issue," Enright said.

Bonilla, a Republican who has been town clerk for almost 10 years, faces up to a year in jail if convicted. He has refused to step down as town clerk but is not seeking re-election.

The trial, which is taking place at First District Court in Hempstead, is scheduled to continue at 11 a.m. Monday. Additional former Bonilla employees are expected to testify.

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