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Democrat Senate candidate Adrienne Esposito on Thursday sought to link Republican Tom Croci to a toxic dumping scandal at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.
Republicans, noting that Croci was on active duty with the U.S. Navy, when the issue broke, called it a “desperate” attempt by Esposito to generate news coverage.
The sparring is just latest in what’s expected to be a pitched battle to succeed Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is running for Congress. Democrat Joseph Fritz also is in the running for state Senate, seeking to challenge Esposito in a Democrat primary.
Croci, the Islip Town supervisor, entered the race two weeks ago when Anthony Senft, the endorsed Republican and Conservative Party candidate, dropped out following months of negative publicity about toxic debris discovered at the Brentwood park. Senft, though not personally implicated in the scandal, had been the town board's parks liaison on the issue until Croci's return from Navy Reserve duty in Afghanistan.
Croci promised to "to lay out our plan for recovery" from the dumping crisis and “hold those responsible accountable.”
But Democrats are seeking to link Croci to the park scandal. They note his town supervisor campaign account received $3,500 in contributions from Daytree, the company the town has blamed for the dumping.
“Croci needs to immediately disclose the details of his relationship with the polluters who dumped thousands of dollars into his campaign coffers right before they dumped toxins in our playgrounds,” Esposito said in a statement Thursday.
A Croci spokesman called the criticism “outrageous.”
“It is sad and clear Adrienne Esposito is desperate to get media coverage at any cost. Apparently she craves attention more than dealing with the facts,” said Croci campaign spokesman Brent Littlefield. “Tom Croci was away serving his country in military uniform at the time of the illegal dumping in Islip. Tom Croci returned and expressed outrage over what had happened in his town. As he said, ‘it is unconscionable.’”