The on-again, off-again girlfriend of former Oyster Bay commissioner Frederick Ippolito became a confidential informant for Nassau prosecutors before they launched a court-authorized wiretap in a corruption probe leading to indictments of several defendants with town ties, testimony showed Wednesday.
That key insight into the wide-ranging Oyster Bay investigation by District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office came out publicly as the trial of former town Parks Commissioner Frank Nocerino began in Nassau County Court.
Nocerino, 67, of Massapequa, is standing trial on an official misconduct charge and maintains his innocence. The Oyster Bay indictments followed the cooperation of Ippolito's onetime fiancee, who contacted the district attorney's office in April 2016 to report he had been involved in illegal activities.
Nocerino's misdemeanor trial involves an alleged scheme related to the employment of a part-time town Parks worker. It follows recent guilty pleas by former Town Supervisor John Venditto and his longtime campaign manager, Richard Porcelli, in connection with the same matter.
Prosecutors claim Nocerino broke the law as a public servant by allowing others outside the Parks Department to make a staffing decision about reinstating the part-time worker’s job — with the intent of benefiting Ippolito, the former Planning and Development commissioner.
The worker, Gage Doughty, then 21, was the son of Stacey Greig, Ippolito’s love interest with whom he had a “tumultuous” relationship, prosecutor Robert Cavallo said in his opening statement.
Nocerino’s attorney, Christopher Devane, said Wednesday his client was “not part of the clique or the inner circle” who made the town’s hiring and firing decisions. He said only Venditto, Porcelli, Ippolito and Leonard Genova, the town attorney and deputy supervisor, were in that group.
“This is the way it worked in 2016 in the Town of Oyster Bay,” Devane told state Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood in his opening statement.
Devane also said there was no proof Nocerino knew he had the sole power to hire and fire Parks workers — even if town code said so.
Ippolito died in federal prison in June 2017 before his indictment that same month on 178 charges stemming from the same corruption probe — charges that never went forward.
In April 2016, Greig and Ippolito weren’t on good terms and Greig reached out to the district attorney’s office to report Ippolito — already convicted of tax evasion — was involved in criminal activities, according to the prosecution.
District attorney's office Investigator Gavin Shea testified Greig told him her son had been unfairly fired from his town job and she also had gotten a violation notice on her house as retribution from Ippolito.
The woman then began wearing a wire and met with Ippolito nine times while secretly recording the sessions for the district attorney’s office, Shea said.
Greig also surreptitiously recorded a meeting in May 2016 between Nocerino and her son that involved her son’s town employment, testimony showed.
In 2014, Doughty used a power washer to draw a swastika at a Farmingdale park while on duty about a month after his hiring and was told to go home and not return, according to prosecutors.
But two years later, Greig was desperate for her son to find a job and knew Ippolito had "pull and sway” in Oyster Bay, Cavallo said Wednesday.
Shea testified that after Greig became his informant, she renewed contact with Ippolito at his direction.
That led to the May 2016 meeting in which Nocerino told Doughty he was “coming back” to work at $20 an hour and the swastika incident wouldn’t be rehashed, according to prosecutors.
They say Nocerino acted to satisfy Ippolito and Venditto and that Nocerino told investigators in December 2016 that Venditto ordered Doughty’s reinstatement after the swastika incident.
But in September 2016, Doughty was fired after Venditto said it was time because Greig and Ippolito weren’t in a relationship anymore, prosecutors claim.
Greig is expected to testify Thursday.