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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Suffolk Legis. Rob Trotta in dust-up with Bellone’s top aide

Aides to Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone say Legis.

Aides to Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone say Legis. Rob Trotta nearly got into an altercation in the lobby of the H. Lee Dennison building with Bellone's top aide. Photo Credit: Newsday / Ed Betz

Boxing has its “Thrilla in Manila” and “Rumble in the Jungle,” but Suffolk politics last week had its own “Hubbub in Hauppauge.”

Aides to Suffolk County Executive said Legis. Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) nearly got into an altercation in the lobby of the H. Lee Dennison building with Bellone’s top aide, Dennis Cohen.

Bellone aides said the dispute stemmed from an incident in the county legislature last Wednesday in which Trotta allegedly accosted and threatened a lower level Bellone aide.

Trotta called the administration’s account “absolutely not true.” He said he spoke to the aide at the legislative meeting only to express his “disgust” over what he called the administration’s attempt to exploit the traffic death of a 14 year old during a discussion of the county’s red-light camera program.

A Bellone spokesperson said Cohen told Trotta that such action was “inappropriate.” Cohen told Trotta that he should call him directly if he had a problem and advised the lawmaker that Suffolk has a policy against workplace violence, the spokesperson said.

At that point, Trotta threatened “to break” the arm of Cohen and that security officials had to escort Trotta out of the building, the spokesperson said .

Trotta said Cohen was laying in wait for him when he was in the building for another meeting.

“Cohen clearly pursued me and orchestrated the confrontation in an effort to intimidate me,” Trotta said. “I will not be intimidated and I will not allow this administration to manipulate citizens’ to justify their policies. Cohen was looking for a fight and I responded accordingly.”

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