Witness says audit found mayor cashed village checks

Saddle Rock Mayor Dr. Dan Levy stands in

Saddle Rock Mayor Dr. Dan Levy stands in front of village hall in Saddle Rock. Sasha Marsi is charged with assaulting the mayor. (Oct. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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The trial of a village critic and former trustee candidate on charges he attacked Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy took a turn Thursday during cross-examination of a village trustee who said an audit revealed that Levy had been writing village checks to a financial services company, then endorsing and cashing them himself.

Village trustee David Schwartz, appearing in the felony assault trial of Sasha Masri in front of Justice Philip Grella in State Supreme Court in Mineola, testified that an auditing firm found that Levy was having village checks issued to a corporation, then brought the checks to a bank and endorsed and cashed them himself.

Schwartz testified that he believed Levy did not have an interest in the corporation, which defense attorney Bob McDonald identified in court as Next Capital Corporation. Records show the business is based in Queens. Schwartz also testified that the village hired an outside law firm, Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein of Garden City, to review the situation once the checks came to light.

Levy, who took the stand in the afternoon, declined to answer questions about Next Capital or the checks, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Levy's attorney, Elizabeth Kase of Garden City, said she could not comment while Levy was on the stand.

Masri, who was charged with a felony and three misdemeanors, is accused of assaulting Levy after a village board meeting last October. Masri had been speaking to Schwartz after the meeting in the nearly empty village meeting room, asking about the village's financials and recent audit, according to Schwartz's testimony, when Levy told Schwartz to stop talking with Masri and called Masri a "loser." Masri and Levy traded profanities, after which Masri assaulted Levy, hitting him on the head, then throwing him across the room, Schwartz testified.

Levy, an eye surgeon, sustained a broken arm, a cracked shoulder and a head laceration, and testified yesterday that he has ongoing pain and had to stop performing surgery due to his injuries.

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Masri ran for the village board in March 2012 but lost a three-way race for two seats.

The trial resumes on Tuesday, when Levy is expected to continue testifying.

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