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Letter to Cuomo starts process of removing Bonilla as town clerk

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla leaves Hempstead

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla leaves Hempstead District Court after closing arguments in his misconduct trial in Hempstead. (July 17, 2013) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

The clerk of Nassau District Court has sent a letter informing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla’s criminal conviction, which sets in motion the process of removing the clerk from office.

Justice Sharon Gianelli found Bonilla guilty of official misconduct on July 25. Bonilla threatened an employee with a job transfer if the employee didn’t produce compromising photos of a woman who had filed a sexual harassment complaint against the clerk, prosecutors said.

Bonilla has continued going to work since his conviction despite calls from Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, like Bonilla a Republican, to step down. Hempstead officials have said the clerk of the court must inform Cuomo of the conviction, and Cuomo will then notify the town board of the vacancy created by the conviction.

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The clerk, Kenneth Roll, sent the letter on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the court said.

Attempts to reach Cuomo’s office about the letter were not successful.

Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery said town officials maintain that Bonilla should leave office.

“The town attorney’s office believes that a vacancy has been created by virtue of his conviction,” Deery said. “We await further action from the governor.”

Bonilla, the town clerk for about 10 years, declined to comment Friday.

Gianelli found Bonilla not guilty of three additional charges — another count of official misconduct, a count of coercion and a count of attempted petty larceny. Bonilla had waived his right to a jury trial.

Bonilla, convicted of a class A misdemeanor, faces up to 1 year in jail. His sentencing is Sept. 26.

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