Money laundering was among the many favors that Harendra Singh performed for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, according to a recently unsealed motion filed by federal prosecutors.
The motion, filed in February, asked U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack to allow Singh to testify about how a “panicked” Mangano asked him to exchange a cash bribe he’d received from a contractor, in case the bills were marked. Azrack ruled Monday that the testimony is admissible.
Mangano is on trial, along with his wife, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, before Azrack in Central Islip. Testimony is to begin Thursday with Singh on the witness stand. Singh has pleaded guilty to bribing Mangano and Venditto.
Mangano is charged with accepting bribes from Singh in return for county concession contracts and for helping to induce Venditto to arrange indirect loan guarantees for Singh. All the defendants deny doing anything illegal.
In the motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz, Catherine Mirable and Raymond Tierney, the government described how Mangano got a deck railing installed at his house for free and then had Singh launder cash associated with the bribe.
According to the motion, the episode began in the late summer or early fall of 2012, when Mangano had a broken railing on the deck of his Bethpage home. To get it fixed, the motion said he called Anthony Gulino, who owns and operates both Residential Fence Corp. and Laser Industries, a municipal contracting company based in Ridge that had done $15 million worth of work for the county at that point.
Kevin Keating, Mangano’s attorney, said: “The purported Gulino event is fiction.”
Gulino, who was also a contributor to Singh’s charitable foundation, did the work and billed Mangano $3,585.45 for the work on Sept. 7, 2012.
“Gulino accepted a check from Mangano in the full amount of the work, but paid Mangano an equal amount in cash, essentially completing the work for free, while creating a paper trail that established otherwise,” the motion said. “Gulino paid this bribe in order to get access to Mangano, if and when the need arose, and to enhance his reputation in the town through his ‘relationship’ with the county executive.”
The motion said about a half-hour later, Mangano called Singh and insisted that they meet at Singh’s house.
“Singh then got into Mangano’s car and Mangano immediately handed Singh an envelope containing approximately $3,600 in cash.” the motion said. “Mangano appeared panicked and asked Singh if Singh could exchange the bills in the envelope for different bills.”
When Singh asked why, the motion said that Mangano said he did not want to get caught with the bills in case they were marked. Singh took the envelope, went to HR Singleton’s, one of his restaurants, exchanged the bills and returned the money to Mangano, according to the motion.
Prosecutors said the testimony is evidence of bribery, shows the criminal relationship between Mangano and Singh, and establishes that Mangano knew what he was doing was illegal. Anthony Gulino is expected testify at the trial, prosecutors said in court filings.
Mangano’s attorney asked Azrack to exclude this testimony, arguing it was prejudicial and not relevant. But Azrack said that because Mangano’s defense is that he accepted benefits from Singh as part of their friendship and not in return for official action, the testimony is admissible to show otherwise.
Azrack wrote in her decision that after Mangano made calls at Gulino’s request, problems at an unspecified work site “went away.”
Gulino and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.