It’s astonishing what a federal subpoena and an FBI forensic accountant can do in following an electronic money trail of the type we all leave behind.
On Thursday in the federal corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and Mangano’s wife, Linda, the FBI’s William Delgais was on the witness stand, with stacks of Excel documents at the ready to refresh his memory.
He testified he had been assigned to cull data from subpoenaed bank accounts, credit card accounts and other financial documents in connection with restaurant charges, limo rides, vacations and paychecks for Linda Mangano’s $450,000 job with former restaurateur Harendra Singh. Prosecutors say the job constituted a bribe.
Delgais went on, under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz, to tell jurors about his analysis of everything from credit card payments to paycheck deposits to cash withdrawals made by Edward and Linda Mangano.
Delgais pulled disparate pieces together to link credit card payments from Singh and Singh-related companies to items that went to the Mangano family.
In one instance, he testified he tracked a $3,371.90 payment, for a chair of Mangano’s, back to Singh, showing that Singh paid a Visa charge of $3,623.73 for a Brookstone chair that went to Mangano.
Delgais also walked the jury through data he said showed that Singh paid a $7,304 invoice for a Panerai watch through his bank account. A receipt showed the watch was shipped to the Mangano home, addressed to one of the couple’s sons.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Mirabile said the Town of Oyster Bay has spent more than $3.3 million on litigation connected with town-backed loans for Singh. She made the statement during arguments Thursday over whether the jury — which had been dismissed for the day — would hear about the town’s liability for loan guarantees.
Marc Agnifilo, the attorney for Venditto, argued against letting jurors know about legal costs.
“Litigation costs are not charged in the indictment,” he said.
Anthony Gulino, a Ridge contractor, testified Thursday that he did not bid on any county contracts while Mangano’s predecessor, Democrat Thomas Suozzi, was Nassau County executive.
“I wasn’t comfortable with Tom Suozzi’s administration,” Gulino testified. “I didn’t support that man.”
“I didn’t know him,” Gulino went on. “I didn’t know his people.”
That would have been a problem, Gulino testified, under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond A. Tierney, because he “wouldn’t have anyone to talk to” in the Suozzi administration if there were problems, such as delays on contracting jobs.
On cross-examination, Mangano’s attorney Kevin Keating attacked Gulino’s claim that he was comfortable with the Republican Mangano administration.
Keating referred to two instances when Gulino tried for work during the Suozzi administration, and noted other instances when he bid for work during the Mangano administration and lost.
Gulino acknowledged making political contributions to officials across Long Island. They included former Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, now a congresswoman, Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer and former Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko. All are Democrats.
From 2009 to 2016, Gulino estimated, he, his siblings and their companies gave more than $100,000 to the Nassau County Republican Party and “roughly $57,000” to Mangano.
He said he also donated $21,000 to Oyster Bay officials, including $4,000 to John Venditto and $2,000 to his son Michael, a former state senator.
Prompted by Keating, U.S. District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack gave this instruction to the jury: “These political contributions are not illegal and the government is not alleging they were part of any quid pro quo relationship.”
Still, when asked by Tierney what he was hoping to get in return for political campaign donations, Gulino had a single-word reply: “Work.”
Gulino, under cross-examination from Mangano’s attorney, Keating, testified that he contributed to Rice’s campaign, and that he met with her twice.
“She was trying to take care of the prevailing wage rate,” he said.
“Her agenda was good for your industry?” Keating asked.
“Right,” Gulino said, referring to what he said was Rice’s intent to prosecute employers who violated prevailing wage laws.
Gulino testified that sometime later, after the DA’s office had investigated him for unpaid state taxes, he made a deal with the office that allowed him to pay $500,000 into the DA’s asset forfeiture fund. Gulino said the deal also allowed a corporation owned by his father to plead guilty in the case, after which Gulino continued to bid on county contracts.
“And who was the county executive at the time?” Tierney asked.
At the suggested link between Rice and Mangano, Mangano slammed his hand on the defense table — hard — as Keating jumped to his feet and objected.
“Unless there’s a good faith basis for that question, I object, strenuously,” Keating said.
After a sidebar, the objection was sustained.
In earlier testimony, the names of two former Rice employees came up.
Singh testified that Chuck Ribando, a former investigator with the Nassau County district attorney’s office, who later served as Mangano’s deputy county executive for public safety, was among those who visited his Bethpage restaurant.
Mike Falzarano, a former investigator for the DA’s office, prosecutors said, was among officials who took limousine rides on Singh’s dime, Singh testified.
Coming up next week
On Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys ironed out instructions that Azrack will give jurors before they begin deliberations.
That likely will make Monday a busy day, with the prosecution resting and summations in the case beginning.
Defense attorneys indicated last week that they will not call witnesses, but with the burden of proof resting on the prosecution, they don’t necessarily have to.
Click here to subscribe to The Point, Newsday Editorial Board’s daily opinion newsletter.