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Flap over Cross campaign flier in Hempstead school board race

Betty Cross, then the president of the Hempstead

Betty Cross, then the president of the Hempstead School Board, adjourns the board's meeting on the evening of June 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

A campaign flier for Hempstead school board candidate Betty Cross that has photographs of her with village Mayor Wayne Hall and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano brought separate statements Wednesday from the elected officials, saying they are not endorsing any candidate in next week's special election.

The flier features several color pictures. One shows Cross with Hall, and another shows her with Mangano. The flier does not say that anyone pictured is endorsing Cross.

Cross, 68, and Maribel Touré, 52, are running in the special election Tuesday for an at-large seat with a term that expires June 30. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School.

Cross, who has served on the board for most of the last three decades, was sworn in as a trustee on the day after the May 20 election as the second-highest vote-getter. State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., in a rare action, ordered her to step down in July and said a special election must be held after Touré petitioned King, alleging voter fraud and misuse of absentee ballots in that vote.

Hall, in his statement Wednesday, said: "Although campaign literature with my picture is being circulated, I assure you that this has been done without permission from me or my office. This literature is a false representation and is at best misleading."

Mangano's office said it had been unaware that the county executive's picture was on the Cross campaign flier.

"County Executive Mangano does not endorse candidates in school board elections nor did he authorize the use of his image on campaign materials," spokesman Brian Nevin said.

Cross did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

Cornell Bozier, her campaign manager, said the campaign made the fliers to let people know Cross is on the ballot in Tuesday's election.

"We're not saying they're endorsing her. It's not misleading to make you think they're endorsing her," Bozier said. "We didn't seek endorsements from public officials."

About 200 of the fliers were printed and handed out on the street over the last week, Bozier said. The pictures were taken at events that Cross attended, he said.

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