Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Karin Murphy Caro, owner of a Suffolk County marketing firm, deny they exchanged sexually explicit text messages. Caro says she didn’t even have Mangano’s cell number and that a printed copy of the supposed communications is a fabrication. Both contend they are victims.

That could have been the end of the story, were it not for two things: Caro has received two of Nassau County’s famed no-bid contracts — under $25,000 — that need no legislative approval. And Mangano has demanded that his appointee, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, conduct a criminal investigation. Too quickly off the mark, before any investigation had begun, Krumpter said: “We believe both victims are credible.” His credibility may ride on this case.

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Establishing the truth should be straightforward. Cellular communications are easy to trace. District Attorney Madeline Singas, whose office must draw up any subpoenas to obtain the records of wireless providers, has offered her assistance. Her office should be brought into the investigation, and if there was wrongdoing, the culprit should be prosecuted. If the messages are real, Krumpter must make that public.

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Caro’s no-bid contracts, one for $24,500 and the other for $24,000, are just two in a series to the politically connected, sometimes for unnecessary work. A Mangano spokesman says Caro organized events and worked to attract film and TV projects. Her two contracts say the services are “specialized, unique and cannot be evaluated through a competitive bid process.” But those needs could easily be met by dozens or hundreds of area firms. If someone is working to smear these two, that’s reprehensible. But so are no-bid contracts that escape the need for legislative approval. — The editorial board