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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Christine Pellegrino backs Suffolk lawsuit against Edward Walsh

Edward Walsh, former Conservative chairman for Suffolk County,

Edward Walsh, former Conservative chairman for Suffolk County, arrives at federal court in Central Islip on March 30, 2016. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Democratic Assembly candidate Christine Pellegrino said she backs Suffolk County’s lawsuit to force ex-county Conservative chairman Edward Walsh to return $444,000 in wages prosecutors say he took illegally.

Pellegrino also asked her Conservative opponent, Thomas Gargiulo, to join her in denouncing Walsh’s actions.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone ordered county attorneys last week to file the suit after federal prosecutors in a presentencing memo raised the amount of wages they said Walsh, an ex-corrections lieutenant, had taken illegally while he was golfing, gambling and politicking.

“I’m embarrassed to explain to my children every time another politician gets arrested for lining their own pockets with our tax dollars,” said Pellegrino, a teacher for 25 years.

“I am calling on my Conservative . . . opponent to denounce the corruption of Ed Walsh and come clean with voters as to whether he knew that Walsh was defrauding taxpayers,” Pellegrino said.

“As a proud Conservative, I’m running my campaign for the Assembly with the greatest respect for taxpayers and our American system of justice,” Gargiulo, who also has the GOP line, said in a statement.

“The issues involving Mr. Walsh are in the hands of capable authorities, and I have every confidence that the courts will make appropriate decisions regarding potential restitution of funds that may be due back to our taxpayers,” Gargiulo said.

Pellegrino and Gargiulo, also the Babylon Conservative vice chairman, are vying in the May 23 special election for the vacant Ninth District Assembly seat, formerly held by Joseph Saladino before he became Oyster Bay Town supervisor.

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