Nassau GOP, Mangano re-election campaign subpoenaed by state AG
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State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has subpoenaed the Nassau GOP and County Executive Edward Mangano's re-election campaign for information about contributions from superstorm Sandy contractors including Looks Great Services, which has nearly $70 million in debris-removal contracts with Nassau, attorneys for the recipients said.
In the same subpoenas, Schneiderman sought information about expenses related to a MetLife Stadium skybox purchased by a political committee headed by Mangano's chief deputy.
Longtime Republican elections attorneys John Ryan, who represents Friends of Ed Mangano, and Peter Bee, representing the Nassau Republican Committee, on Thursday confirmed receipt of identically worded subpoenas from Schneiderman.
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Ryan also represents the Hicksville Republican Committee run by Mangano's chief deputy, Rob Walker. The committee purchased the luxury box at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for $204,000 last year, with plans to host fundraisers and committee members at events including Giants games, Walker has said. Ryan said the Hicksville committee has not received a subpoena.
"I guess like the other governmental prosecutorial agencies that are looking into the Sandy contracts, fine, they have to discharge their duties," Ryan said. "But I find it interesting that they weaved into this subpoena the MetLife thing because that's kind of disjointed, for lack of a better word."
Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs filed complaints last fall and this spring with the state Board of Elections and Schneiderman's office. He alleged that Mangano and Walker had illegally used the Hicksville committee and the skybox to funnel money secretly to Mangano's campaign. Mangano, a Republican who is running for re-election this year, and Walker have denied the allegations.
Said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin: "We are fully compliant with the law and have provided the very same documents to the Board of Elections earlier this year that indicate all contributions were legally reported."
Anthony Santino, Nassau Republican spokesman, said, "The Nassau County Democrats are up to their old tricks. They're using the attorney general's office as a tool to deflect attention away from Tom Suozzi's dismal record." Suozzi, a Democrat who lost to Mangano in 2009, is seeking a rematch this November.
Walker and Schneiderman declined to comment while Jacobs denied "using" the attorney general's office.
The Nassau and Suffolk district attorneys, Schneiderman's office, the state Department of Labor and the federal Department of Labor also are investigating Sandy contractors including Looks Great over prevailing wage issues and how the contracts were awarded.
Looks Great, of Huntington, is expected to receive nearly $70 million from Nassau alone. The firm has sued Nassau, two towns and the Long Island Rail Road for holding up $15 million in payments.
A Looks Great spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Ryan said he has been dealing with questions about the MetLife box "ironically and maybe not so coincidentally through a number of complaints" that Jacobs made to the state Board of Elections.
Jacobs said he has had no conversations with Schneiderman about the complaints. He acknowledged hosting fundraisers for the attorney general, but added that he has done the same for many other high-level Democratic office holders.
"I most certainly filed a complaint. That's public. Beyond that, I've done nothing," Jacobs said. "That the attorney general is following up on it is probably because he's found something that doesn't smell right."
The subpoenas seek information about contributions from dozens of Sandy contractors, including Looks Great and its president, Kristian Agoglia, as well as about expenses involving the luxury box, Ryan confirmed.
The Associated Press reported recently that 23 Sandy contractors including Looks Great contributed more than $144,000 to Mangano's campaign in the 11 weeks after the storm.Jacobs raised questions about the use of the skybox."There are 10 football games that get played. ... Where did the tickets go? If a public official sat in one of those seats for free, that's a crime. If they're selling some of the tickets, where has the money gone? The Hicksville club has not reported it."
Nevin said money raised by Mangano from skybox events has been properly reported. He cited a $48,000 in-kind contribution reported by Mangano's campaign in January that was based on the number of seats used for Mangano events and their price.
Walker has said the box would be used mostly by Hicksville club members and their families.
Suffolk County district attorney
How contracts were awarded and how work was performed in Brookhaven, Babylon, Islip, Huntington, Smithtown and Suffolk County
Nassau County district attorney
How companies were selected and the work they performed
State attorney general's office
How cleanup contract work was obtained and the performance of companies that did the work
State Labor Department
Several companies for potential violations of state-mandated wages and benefits in public works contracts
U.S. Homeland Security Department's Office of the Inspector General
How FEMA money is spent
U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division
Looks Great Services in relation to federal contracts the company was awarded for cleanup work in New York City