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Nassau IDA dumps attorney Edward Ambrosino after tax arrest

Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino surrenders at a

Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino surrenders at a FBI office in Melville on Friday, March 31, 2017. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County’s primary economic development agencies severed ties to attorney Edward Ambrosino on Tuesday night after his arrest on federal charges last week.

The boards of directors of the county’s Industrial Development Agency and Local Economic Assistance Corp., in back-to-back meetings, unanimously voted to end their contracts for Ambrosino to provide legal services as their general counsel.

Ambrosino, 52, of North Valley Stream was arrested Friday by federal authorities on charges of income tax evasion and wire fraud for failing to pay more than $250,000 in federal income taxes. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $250,000 bond.

Ambrosino, a longtime Hempstead Town councilman and a confidante of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, did not attend either board’s meeting. His attorney declined to comment.

Timothy Williams, the IDA board chairman, said, “The actions we took were in the best interests of the IDA. We thank him for his service and his time.”

The Phillips Lytle law firm, with an office in Garden City, was appointed temporary counsel of both the IDA and the local assistance corporation. The boards of both agencies were appointed by Mangano.

The agencies are featured in the 12-page indictment from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Prosecutors allege that Ambrosino deposited checks from the IDA and assistance corporation for his legal services into a private bank account instead of handing the checks over to his law firm.

Ambrosino was paid more than $1.3 million by the IDA and assistance corporation between 2013 and 2015. Of that sum, he placed more than $800,000 in his private bank account, prosecutors said. They also allege that Ambrosino did not report some of this income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Prosecutors have not charged either the IDA or the assistance corporation with wrongdoing.

Joseph J. Kearney, executive director of both development agencies, said they had “complied with their reporting obligations by providing the IRS, as well as Mr. Ambrosino, with all required IRS forms.”

The IDA provides tax breaks to expanding businesses while the assistance corporation offers tax-exempt bond financing to hospitals and nonprofits.

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