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Suffolk's ethics panel member calls Levy charge 'political'

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. (Credit: Ed Betz)

A Suffolk ethics commission member says he believes a complaint against former chief deputy county executive Paul Sabatino was spurred by politics.

“I pushed for the dismissal as I felt from the beginning that the complaint was politically motivated,” said Craig Tortora in an e-mail.

Tortora said he saw “no illegality” in what Sabatino did -- but added his “antics were a betrayal of the people of Suffolk,” adding he was “a major contributor to the ‘Wild West ‘ attitude that has prevailed in Suffolk government for too long.”

Aides to ex-County Executive Steve Levy complained that Sabatino broke ethics rules by representing county unions after leaving county government. Sabatino said he advised a union on Levy’s proposed 2009 budget a year after he left the county but not on any matter that he was involved in while working for the county.

Sabatino said he was glad Tortora agrees “Levy’s charges were politically motivated,” but added that he is proud of his role in the often rambunctious county government.

“My particiaption in the ‘Wild, Wild West’ was time actually spent helping build Suffolk into the heart of democracy,” he said, where public officials can’t  “use government agencies as a vehicle to try to stifle debate and punish dissent.”

Pictured above: Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy

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