Although Rick Bellando, catering manager at the Oheka Castle in Huntington, is the executive director of the Nassau Independence Party, most county politicians assume his boss, Gary Melius, is the one making the decisions.
But Melius, a developer who has contacts across the political spectrum, denies that he or Bellando steer the third-party's actions.
"Really, Frank MacKay makes all the decisions," Melius said. McKay, who lives in Suffolk, is chairman of both the state and Suffolk branches of the Independence Party.
"Am I friendly with Frank MacKay? Yes," Melius said. "Do I talk to him? Yes. Do I make decisions? No."
-- Celeste Hadrick