Witness against Andrew Hardwick calls arrest intimidation
A Roosevelt man who was arrested days after testifying against Andrew Hardwick, a third-party candidate for Nassau County executive, has filed a complaint asking the district attorney's office to look into the arrest as possible witness intimidation.
Randy White, 29, had testified last Wednesday in a Nassau State Supreme Court hearing that former Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick was paying those who carried his petitions in the county executive race $1.25 for each signature they got. Petitioners legally can be paid per hour but not per signature. Hardwick has denied the claim.
White, who is unemployed, was arrested Saturday while riding a bus from Roosevelt to Hempstead. He had failed to pay a $250 fine after pleading guilty earlier this year to selling bootleg DVDs. He was released and is due back in court Dec. 6.
Robert McDonald, White's lawyer and first vice chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Party, said, "They sent three detectives to board a bus and arrest this man whose address they had all the time. What a waste of taxpayer money. And I don't believe in coincidences. That's why we went to the district attorney's office."
Democratic leaders are challenging Hardwick's candidacy on the newly formed "We Count" party line. They allege that Hardwick is in the race solely to siphon votes from Thomas Suozzi, the former Democratic county executive who is trying to win the seat back.
Chris Munzig, a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice, confirmed that a complaint had been filed but would not elaborate. "That's not our practice," he said.
Nassau Police Insp. Kenneth Lack would say only that "a valid bench warrant was out for his [White's] arrest."
White said in an interview Tuesday that Hardwick "on several occasions had told us workers that he would not pay the regular $10 an hour because, basically, he did not trust us. [Instead] he would pay for each signature we brought back."
But Hardwick, following a court hearing on the validity of the signatures he needs to run, said White's comments "are absolutely untrue." Hardwick said he is running because he is the best candidate. White's father, a community activist and a Democratic committeeman, Rasaan Hoskins, said he had advised his son against working for Hardwick's campaign, "but I didn't have a job for him."
With Robert Brodsky
and Celeste Hadrick