Spin Cycle

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In the midst of a relatively tepid campaign season,  Nassau Democratic legislative candidate Dean Hart continues to throw political bombs at incumbent Republicans.

Hart, a Glen Head optometrist who is running against Legis. Donald Mackenzie (R-Oyster Bay), announced Thursday he would spend up to $1 million of his own money to pay for a forensic accountant to investigate the financing of trips taken by Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano with indicted restaurateur Harenda Singh.

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Records provided to Newsday and investigators by a former part-time Oyster Bay bay constable suggest Singh arranged and paid for vacations with the county executive. The records did not indicate whether Mangano reimbursed Singh, who employed Mangano's wife. Mangano has declined to comment on the alleged trips.

Hart said the county legislature should subpoena the travel receipts and make them public. A forensic accountant could then determine whether any laws were violated. "I am aware that I am talking about a great deal of money but the issue is of tremendous importance to the people of Nassau County and I am willing to shoulder the responsibility to bring out the truth," Hart said.

Mangano spokesman declined to comment on Hart's proposal.

Hart's announcement followed a news release he issued Wednesday calling on MacKenzie to promise to refuse any political contributions from businesses or organizations doing business with Nassau County or any town or village in the county,

Mangano has said he will propose legislation in accord with recent recommendations of an advisory panel that called for limits on political contributions from county vendors.

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Hart said his campaign refuses donations from county vendors, but complained that MacKenzie has not commented on the practice.

"If you're serious about reform, you practice what your preach," Hart said. "Now I just hope that my opponent will do the same and reject even the appearance of corruption."

MacKenzie said through a spokesman, "I am running on a record of no tax increases, the lowest crime rate in Nassau's history, record low unemployment and reducing the size of government. It's time that Dean Hart get serious about the issues Nassau taxpayers care about."

Actually, property taxes increased by 3.4 percent last year after Mangano vetoed the legislature's move to eliminate the tax hike.

Hart previously called on MacKenzie to vote against a Mangano plan to allow PSEG, unlike other county taxpayers, to make partial property tax payments. The legislature Wednesday unanimously approved the plan.

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He also protested outside the annual golf outing of the Hicksville Republican Committee, run by Mangano's chief deputy Rob Walker, because many of the event sponsors are county contractors.


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