Suffolk Legis. Robert Trotta is criticizing $28,500 in donations to local Democrats by Beach Hut, a food concessionaire that agreed to pay $1.1 million in restitution and penalties after pleading guilty to shortchanging the state and Suffolk County on sales tax.
Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) produced state election records showing that Beach Hut gave County Executive Steve Bellone $6,500 in 2010 and 2011; the Babylon Democratic Committee $18,800 from 2010 to 2016; $3,000 to Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini’s successful campaign for county district attorney this year; and $300 to county Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) in 2015.
Trotta said the officials should not keep the money, and that it should be illegal for any county elected official to take money from a business with a county contract. “It’s essentially legalized bribery and it’s why its so expensive to live here,” said Trotta.
Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman, said, “Rob Trotta should calm down, and take a deep breath and realize taking campaign contributions do not influence public policy.”
The concessionaire has agreed to pay $1.114 million in unpaid state and county sales tax and penalties for sales made between 2012 and 2016.
The Beach Hut concessions at Suffolk’s Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches, Babylon’s Tanner Park and Venetian Shores as well as Marchello’s Garden Grill in Smithtown, which has the same ownership, failed to pay $296,000 in sales tax on $3.4 million in sales.
According to prosecutors, Frederick Marsilio, part-owner of Beach Hut restaurants, filed false state income tax returns for the period from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016, failing to report all business income from the Beach Hut and Garden Grill and intentionally failing to report $1,776,792 of income to avoid paying state income tax of $127,783.
Marchello’s Garden Grill pleaded guilty in December to violating tax law Section 1804 and criminal fraud in the third degree. Marsilio individually pleaded guilty to tax law Section 1802 and criminal fraud in the fifth degree.
Babylon Supervisor Richard Schaffer, also the Suffolk Democratic chairman, called the plea a “very serious issue” and said he, the town attorney and town board would review the plea deal and the concession agreement with the town.