Spin Cycle

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An attorney for Nassau’s Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams recently cited the federal criminal charges against County Executive Edward Mangano in a bid to get outside counsel to represent him in a lawsuit the jail’s medical vendor brought against the county and some of its high-ranking officials.

Peter Clines, a lawyer for the legislature’s Democrats, wrote to County Attorney Carnell Foskey that Abrahams (D-Freeport) “is well within his rights” to have a lawyer not connected with Mangano represent him in the Armor Correctional Health Services lawsuit.

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Armor is seeking a judge’s declaration that it can leave the jail when its contract ends May 31. Mangano’s administration is trying to force Armor to stay longer to help transition to the next provider after two failed attempts to hire a new contractor.

Clines’ April 19 letter cited Mangano’s “federal indictment arising from his relationship with a county vendor.”

In October, Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with their dealings with Bethpage restaurateur Harendra Singh.

Singh, charged in September 2015 with income-tax evasion, obstruction of justice and bribing a former deputy Oyster Bay Town attorney, has pleaded not guilty and has had his trial postponed indefinitely.

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“The minority leader is well within his rights to have separate counsel not associated with the county executive especially in a matter such as the Armor litigation, which arises out of an extremely controversial relationship with a county vendor,” Clines wrote.

His letter also cited Abrahams’ “fundamentally conflicting views with his co-defendants” which include the Sheriff’s Department and Legislative presiding officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), “on every significant aspect of the Armor contract.”

Deputy County Attorney Andrew Scott denied the request in a response on April 20. Scott said that although Abrahams disagrees with other officials, “this cannot be said to present a conflict of interest between the county and itself.”

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Scott said if and when there is a potential resolution of the lawsuit, “the county makes only one decision.”