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3rd C.D.: GOP rivals trade charges over harassment complaint
A campaign volunteer for Republican congressional candidate Stephen A. Labate has filed a police complaint against primary challenger Grant Lally, alleging he staked out her house and sent a private investigator to intimidate her.
Lally, a Mineola attorney who is the Nassau GOP Committee’s endorsed candidate to run against Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) for the 3rd Congressional District seat, called the claims “false” and “bizarre.”
A Nassau police spokeswoman said Tuesday the department was investigating the complaint filed April 26th, but could not comment further.
The allegations are described in a letter sent to Nassau GOP chairman Joe Mondello and State GOP chairman Ed Cox by Joseph Maneggio, of Bellmore, the father of the 19-year-old campaign volunteer.
Maneggio said on April 22 his wife saw “a man in a dark gray SUV” pass by the family’s Bellmore home “at a very slow pace,” and proceeded to park two houses down. When his wife attempted to drive up to the man’s car “he covered his face.” He said his wife later identified the man as Lally, after viewing a picture of him online.
In a phone interview, Maneggio said, on April 23 a man who “claimed to be a private investigator who was investigating signatures,” showed up at the family’s doorstep with copies of the designating petitions collected by Maneggio’s daughter on Lebate’s behalf, and repeatedly asked if her signature on the petitions were in fact hers. Despite insisting they were her signatures, the investigator reportedly “continued to harass” the 19-year old accusing her of providing forged signatures, before leaving about 10 minutes later.
“I find it contemptible that the Lally campaign would try to harass and bully a 19- year-old college student who was exercising her constitutional right to get a candidate on the ballot,” Labate wrote in a news release sent Monday announcing the complaint.
John Ciampoli, an attorney for Lally’s campaign, and former Nassau County Attorney, said Labate “is delusional and it appears he is filing false police complaints and suborning perjury."
Nassau GOP spokesman Tony Santino, said he was unaware of the complaint and referred all comments back to the campaigns.
David Laska, spokesman for the state Republican party said Cox had received the letter, but had no further comment.
Labate, an Iraq War veteran and Deer Park financial planner, lost to Israel two years ago 56 percent to 43 percent, to represent a district that stretches across Nassau, Suffolk and Queens. Lally previously worked as a lawyer for George W. Bush during the 2000 recount battle, and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1994 and 1996 against then-Rep. Gary Ackerman.