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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Marian Rose Tinari campaign mailings may violate Suffolk law

A fundraising invitation had an image of the Suffolk County seal, but the law bars private use of the seal.

A fundraising letter from the campaign of Suffolk

A fundraising letter from the campaign of Suffolk Surrogate Court judge candidate Marian Rose Tinari may have run afoul of county law. Photo Credit: Richard T. Slattery

The campaign of Suffolk Surrogate Court judge candidate Marian Rose Tinari has sent out more than 2,400 invitations to its first fundraiser, but the mailing may have run afoul of county law barring private use of the county seal.

The invitation for the $200-a-head event at the Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip on Wednesday shows the official Suffolk seal with its engraved bull in the center above the scales of justice and a judicial gavel.

According to Chapter 726 of the county code, the seal is “the sole and exclusive property of the county” and “shall not be reproduced by any individual . . . firm, corporation . . . [or] other private entities.”

The only exception is for “commemorative or historical events of county wide interest.” Any “intentional or knowing violation” is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year in prison.

Tinari, a District Court judge, is a Conservative Party member and wife of the party’s Suffolk chairman, Frank Tinari. She also has the Democratic and Independence Party ballot lines.

Judicial ethics rules prohibit candidates from taking part in any fundraising efforts, which are left to a separate campaign committee. Tinari played no role in preparing or reviewing the invitation, said Michael Dawidziak, her campaign consultant.

Dawidziak said he was unaware of any restrictions on using the seal. He said he has used similar seals for years in past campaigns without incident. “It’s totally my screw-up and it was unintentional,” he said.

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