An opinion by an Oyster Bay attorney that the town could not provide a loan guarantee legally for restaurateur Harendra Singh’s businesses set off a chain of events in which former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s law firm was hired to devise a way get around it, federal prosecutors allege.
The events are part of an alleged scheme laid out in detail in a pretrial motion filed late Tuesday in the government’s corruption case against Mangano, his wife, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. Mangano and Venditto are charged with illegally helping Singh get the guarantees as well as government contracts in return for bribes and a no-show job for Mangano’s wife.
On April 28, 2010, a meeting was held in Venditto’s North Massapequa campaign office for “the sole purpose . . . to devise a way for the TOB to guarantee Singh’s loans, despite the prohibition,” the prosecutors said in court papers.
Present at that meeting were Mangano, Venditto, Singh, then-town attorney Leonard Genova, then-deputy town attorney Frederick Mei and two attorneys with Mangano’s former law firm of Rivkin Radler of Uniondale, the prosecutors said in court papers.
In the latest government filing, Eastern District prosecutors said they specifically want complete copies of documents that have been submitted to them only in redacted form because of a claim of attorney-client privilege by the Town of Oyster Bay. The documents come from the town, Rivkin Radler and Jonathan Sinnreich, an outside counsel for the town who objected to the Singh loan guarantee, the prosecutors said in court papers.
In addition, the government says it possesses and wants to use in the case an unredacted email sent by Sinnreich on April 7, 2010, to Mei, who sent it on to Singh. This waives lawyer-client privilege because Singh is neither a lawyer nor a client in the situation, prosecutors argue in their motion to U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack.
In that same email, Sinnreich tells the town of his objections to the loan guarantee for Singh.
He says in that email: “Bottom line: I don’t see how the Town can possibly guarantee an open-ended general purpose line of credit for H’s business,” according to court papers.
Both Singh and Mei have pleaded guilty in a bribery scheme relating to the town’s eventual granting of millions of dollars in indirect loan guarantees to Singh.
As early as January 2010, Singh asked Mangano, who had just become county executive, to help him obtain the town loan guarantees, and Mangano told him “it would get done,” Eastern District prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Raymond Tierney say in their new motion.
Mangano eventually “used his official position to advise and pressure Venditto to guarantee Singh’s loans,” the prosecutors said in court papers. “In particular, Singh told Mangano that they needed an attorney who would, unlike Sinnreich, say ‘yes’ to the loan guarantees,” court papers say.
After Singh received the copy of the Sinnreich email on April 7, the restaurateur “approached Mangano and, again enlisted Mangano’s assistance to secure loans backed by TOB,” the prosecutors said.
A day later, on April 8, “Mangano’s former law firm was hired to craft a way to say ‘yes’ to the TOB’s backing of Singh’s loans, and on April 9, 2010, L. Mangano received her first paycheck for her sham $100,000/year ‘job’ at the Water’s Edge,” the prosecutors said in court papers.
Mangano attorney Kevin Keating of Garden City said in a statement: “The Government’s contentions in their letter with regard to Ed Mangano are utterly and demonstrably false.
“He had no role in the lawful decision to have Rivkin review the matter, and the notion that four months into his tenure he exerted pressure on the Town of Oyster Bay to amend their agreement with Singh — which TOB had already done on their own on three separate occasions before Ed became County Executive — is a total fiction,” Keating said.
Venditto’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo of Manhattan, and Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman of Garden City, have said their clients were not guilty.
Sinnreich and the Rivkin Radler lawyers have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
A Town of Oyster Bay spokesman, Genova and Mei’s attorney did not return phone calls asking for comment.
Edward Mangano has been charged with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and extortion.
Linda Mangano was charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements involving “work she claimed to have performed” in an alleged no-show job from Singh, according to the indictment and prosecutors.
Venditto is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, securities fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. All have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go on trial on March 12.
Venditto was also accused in a superseding indictment in November of 21 charges involving securities fraud in the town’s public offering of more than $1 billion in securities between 2010 and 2016. The Manganos were not accused in the securities fraud.
Wednesday, Azrack set jury selection in the corruption trial for Feb. 28. She said she would rule soon on a number of pending motions in the case, which include defense motions to dismiss the charges and to separate the trials of the Manganos and Venditto.
None of the parties commented after the proceeding.
With Bridget Murphy