Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice in June 2010.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice in June 2010. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

In emails Gary Melius sent to Kathleen Rice, then the Nassau County district attorney, from December 2009 through June 2013, he tried to arrange play dates for their dogs and sought to set up meetings between her and judges.

The nine emails, provided to Newsday in response to a public records request to current District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office, show a cheery Melius, who with his wife and an employee donated $13,300 to Rice’s political campaigns, also passing along the resume of a friend’s son, whom Rice hired.

Though the emails suggest a friendly relationship, Rice’s spokesman, Coleman Lamb, said by email that the two were never personally close. “Kathleen never accepted, let alone asked for, favors of any kind from Mr. Melius,” Lamb wrote.

The district attorney’s office, in fulfilling Newsday’s records request, found no email responses from Rice to Melius. Lamb wrote that Rice cut off contact with Melius and stopped taking his donations before the Randy White investigation, which began in late 2013. Asked why Rice did so, Lamb wrote that she made the decision in conjunction with the district attorney’s office, but that he was “not privy to the reasoning.”

Today, Melius faults Rice for being thankless.

In April, he said Rice alone among local politicians distanced herself from him after the 2014 attempt on his life. Rice didn’t seek Independence Party support in her successful run for Congress that year, publicly citing her office’s investigation into the Randy White case.

In a brief interview last August, Melius expressed bitterness at Rice for rejecting their association after having, he said, visited Oheka more than once with what he called “her little rat dog Pearl to eat, drink and be merry, ask me for favors, ask me for money.”

Lamb disputed Melius’ characterization of Rice and offered what he called “photographic evidence” that Pearl is a “lovely animal who looks nothing like a rat.”

In a December 2009 email, Melius told Rice that Anthony Marano, Nassau’s top judge, wanted to meet her for lunch at Oheka Castle. In the same email, Melius told Rice that Independence Party leader Frank MacKay was eager to set up a dinner.

Lamb wrote that he could not say whether the meetings with Marano or MacKay took place, but that Rice had lines of communication with both men that were independent of Melius, as would be expected given their roles in the judiciary and politics.

In a March 2012 email, Melius suggested that his Labrador retriever, Otto, and Pearl, Rice’s half-Maltese half-Yorkie, needed to get together. “Otto has been asking for Pearl,” he wrote, “so hopefully we can set up a play date again.”

In the same email, Melius included the resume of a Bronx prosecutor whom Rice later hired to work in her public corruption bureau. Rice has denied that Melius played any role in hiring the prosecutor, who no longer works in Nassau.

“I was wondering if you could spare a little time for lunch or dinner with an old friend,” Melius wrote in a June 2013 email. “How’s Pearl – Otto has been asking for her.” Nine days later, Melius wrote asking whether Rice wanted Thomas Adams, Nassau’s top judge, to join them for a July 9 lunch. The proposed lunch did not take place, Lamb wrote.

The White scandal would explode four months later.

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