Voters reject criminal defendants for legislature

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Dan Janison Melville. N.Y. Tuesday January 26, 2010. Daniel Janison,

Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997, initially as a staff writer for the New

Two criminal defendants showed outsized optimism by facing voters yesterday on separate primary ballots for Long Island county legislative seats.

They couldn't have run as a ticket, had they wished, since Legis. Roger Corbin (D-Westbury) was seeking re-election in Nassau, and George Guldi of Westhampton Beach, while also a Democrat, sought to return to the Suffolk Legislature.

Both brought special drama to their distant precincts and came away empty on a day when turnout could best be described as intimate.

By night's end, Corbin's often-controversial, seven-term run as a lawmaker, in which he shook the house at the front of an internal rebellion in 2006, was approaching a grim end.

Corbin's biggest troubles now come from federal allegations of fraud - filing false federal income taxes for each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007 on $226,000 - and one count of lying to a federal agent, according to the indictment.

Losing his office, some believe, could mean Corbin loses leverage. U.S. prosecutors have been known to make the vacating of a public office one of the terms of a politician's plea-bargain. That chip, if it existed, would come off the table.

Corbin's defeat by Robert Troiano Jr., the first African-American on the North Hempstead Town Council, also means that county Democrats, including chairman Jay Jacobs, avoid the awkward position of backing an accused felon in their broader effort to hold what's now a 10-9 legislative majority.

A clear loser - much earlier in the evening - was Guldi, who faces state charges of leading a mortgage fraud scheme pegged by authorities at upward of $82 million, allegedly with the use of falsified loan applications and straw buyers.

Co-defendants included a dominatrix, her husband and two other lawyers when the charges were revealed last spring.

He was challenging Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, seeking a fourth term in the Suffolk Legislature - who garnered an overpowering 88 percent of an unofficially-tallied 1,199 votes.

Running under indictment doesn't always mean running on empty.

But last night it did.

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