Nassau County's deputy commissioner of emergency management was arrested yesterday on perjury and misconduct charges, accused of failing to disclose a decades-old burglary conviction on applications for county jobs, prosecutors said.
Edward Korona Jr., 53, of Hicksville, is charged with four counts of perjury, four counts each of offering a false instrument for filing and making a false sworn statement -- all felonies -- and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
If convicted of the top charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 11/3 to 4 years in prison.
Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said Korona answered "no" when asked if he had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony on four applications to the Nassau County Civil Service Commission from December 2007 to June 2013.
"He is in a position of extreme importance to this county, with access to high-level negotiations and talks and sensitive material, and if you lie on your applications under penalty of perjury, you will be prosecuted by this office," said Singas, adding the Korona's conviction was discovered during her ongoing probe into county contracts.
Korona was released on personal recognizance after his arraignment yesterday afternoon in First District Court in Hempstead. He left the courthouse with his wife and father without commenting. A woman who later answered the phone at Korona's home said he had no comment.
"We vehemently deny the charges," said Korona's attorney, N. Scott Banks of Garden City.
Banks said he had not yet reviewed the specifics of the allegations, adding: "I don't know what the status of that [burglary] conviction is, what he was told or understood at that time, which really goes to the heart of the matter."
County Attorney Carnell Foskey said Korona's job status is "under review" in light of his arrest. Korona, who was appointed to his $120,000-a-year job in February, is on leave from his previously held civil service job as a machine operator, Foskey said.
Under state law, the county can terminate an employee based on a conviction -- not an arrest, Foskey said.
Korona's alleged prior conviction "would not in and of itself been a bar to employment," Foskey said.
County Executive Edward Mangano referred calls for comment to the county attorney.
In February 1982, Korona was convicted of second-degree burglary, a class C felony, according to the criminal complaint. Korona -- then 19 and living in Levittown -- was sentenced to 12/3 to 5 years on that charge and 11/3 to 4 years for attempted burglary stemming from the burglary of a Jericho home in December 1981, Newsday reported at the time.
Banks said his client is "shocked and surprised" by the new allegations. "He is trying his very best to deal with that."
Korona, a former Hicksville fire chief, was hired by Nassau in November 1986 and worked for most of his career as a machine operator and supervisor.
He is among a group of first responders who support Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray for Nassau district attorney, according to campaign spokesman Bill Corbett Jr. Murray is challenging Singas, a Democrat, in next month's district attorney election.
Corbett said that while Korona "plays no significant role" in Murray's campaign, "the timing of this issue is suspect. The office of district attorney should not mix politics with criminal investigations."
Singas dismissed the notion that politics were at play, saying Korona was arrested "because he lied four separate times on four separate applications."
Singas declined to say whether she was investigating other county employees on similar allegations.
Banks, who is running for county court judge as a Democrat, said, "I'm not looking at this case as a political case whatsoever at this time."
According to state Board of Election records, Korona or his family members have contributed $1,165 since 2011 to Mangano, the Nassau County Republican Committee and to Murray's campaign for district attorney.