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The annual Nassau PBA Christmas party went on as scheduled Thursday night despite a breaking political-influence scandal that led County Executive Edward Mangano to force the resignation of Police Commissioner Thomas Dale earlier in the day.
Some 550 police officers and politicians showed up to party with the Police Benevolent Association at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale and to honor outstanding cops, according to PBA president James Carver.
Attendees included a majority of the incoming Nassau County Legislature, such as Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), incoming Legis. Laura Schaefer, a Republican from Westbury, Don Mackenzie, a Republican from Oyster Bay, and Laura Curran a Democrat from Baldwin, along with Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), Carrie Solages (D-Elmont) and Robert Troiano (D-Westbury).
Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto attended as did officials from other Nassau towns, including Hempstead Town Receiver Donald Clavin and Town Board member Gary Hudes. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was there. So was Assemb. Michaelle "Mickey" Solages (D-Elmont).
Not surprisingly, the no-shows included Mangano, his chief deputy, Rob Walker, and Dale, a longtime New York City cop who was hired by Mangano to head the county department two years ago.
Dale resigned Thursday, along with Chief of Detectives John Capece, after a district attorney’s investigation found that they had improperly intervened in an elections case at the request of businessman Gary Melius, who owns Oheka Castle in Huntington. A police sergeant involved in the case retired last month. Politicians, including Mangano, and some law enforcement officials, including Dale, have partied at Oheka, whose catering manager is chairman of the Nassau Independence Party.
PBA president Carver said the shake-up “was definitely the talk of the night, what was going on with the commissioner and the chief of detectives. People were upset. The people who work in the streets worried that this is a reflection on them. We said, ‘Guys keep doing your jobs...Somebody from the outside came in and brought outside influence.’”
The PBA had opposed Dale’s appointment, arguing that the commissioner should come from the ranks of the Nassau department.
Carver added, “I don’t know why Dale didn’t show up. He must have been busy...”