A political mailing, funded largely by the Suffolk PBA, has attacked Republican legislative candidate Frank Tassone by incorrectly using the photo of a convicted former Roslyn school superintendent with the same name who had been jailed for embezzling $11 million from the school district.
The mailing, paid for by the Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation, used a large, frowning picture of the former school administrator. Under the picture it said "Vote No on Frank Tassone on Nov. 3." Legislative candidate Tassone is 44; the former school official is 68.
The mailing also erroneously accused the Republican contender of "hobnobbing" with conservative Republican Carl Paladino, a one-time gubernatorial candidate with tea party ties. The footnote in the mailing cites as the source an incorrect cyber posting for a 2010 Paladino event hosted by "Islip Republican Chairman Frank J. Tassone and Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh." The Islip GOP leader is Frank Tantone.
While the mailing was done by the foundation, Tassone blamed his Democratic opponent Robert Calarco of Patchogue, claiming he has used similar misleading tactics in past campaigns. "It's clear Rob Calarco had supporters doing his bidding," said Tassone. "Voters repeatedly tell me how sick they are of gutter-style campaigning . . . It's the same kind of sloppiness that have put Suffolk finances in chaos." He also said he has never met Paladino.
Calarco countered that he had no part in the mailing, saying, "I can't comment on a piece I had nothing to do with." The lawmaker added he had also been a victim of GOP mailings which claim he favors a video slot casino in Medford, which he says he opposes.
Suffolk PBA President Noel DiGerolamo, a foundation board member, initially said he was unaware of a mistake, but later after checking, he acknowledged the error. "All I can say is that it proves there is no coordination between what law enforcement foundation does and other entities," he said. "Ultimately the responsibility lies with myself," adding, "I will personally rectify the situation and make apologies."
However, DiGerolamo also criticized Tassone for "erroneous" radio ads which claim that officers make more than $200,000 a year. "It's a fabrication Republicans continue to perpetrate and I hope he will apologize for that," he said.
The foundation also took fire for a late mailing that pictured Democratic Legis. Sarah Anker together with GOP Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine, who's backing Anker's GOP foe Steve Tricarico. "I would urge voters to cast their ballot for Steve. He's a good public official," said Romaine, who called mailing "somewhat disturbing," given the union used the same ploy two years ago. "It's not the right way to run a political campaign," he said. DeGerolamo declined comment.