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Haber mailing questions Suozzi as Democrat

Nassau county executive candidate Adam Haber has released

Nassau county executive candidate Adam Haber has released a harsh new mailing questioning the credentials of his Democratic primary opponent, Thomas Suozzi. (July 31, 2013) Credit: handout

Nassau County executive candidate Adam Haber has released an aggressive new mailing questioning the Democratic credentials of his primary opponent, Thomas Suozzi.

The mailers attack Suozzi for raising his salary as county executive in 2007 and for appointing a top official who later pleaded guilty to sexually harassing a co-worker.

Haber's name does not appear on the flier, but his campaign said it is the sponsor.

The flier, mailed to registered Democrats this week, shows the back of a man resembling Suozzi holding up his right hand while the fingers on his left hand are crossed.

The headline reads: "Tom Suozzi Calls Himself a Democrat." The back of the mailing accuses Suozzi of increasing his salary by $65,000; cheating "workers out of hard-earned wages" and handpicking "corrupt employees who sexually harass women." It uses an image of an elephant, the symbol of the GOP, next to each allegation.

"Sadly, Tom Suozzi is guilty of all these things. We deserve Democrats who won't sell out our values," the flier states.

Suozzi declined to comment about the mailing.

Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, a Suozzi backer, called the flier "hypocritical." He noted that Haber was a registered Republican for 13 years, before registering as a Democrat in Nassau in 2000. Haber confirmed that he was a registered Republican in the past but said he never gave money to Republicans.

In 2007, a legislative task force recommended the salary increase, arguing Suozzi was paid less than Suffolk's executive.

Suozzi's law firm, Harris Beach, represented caterers who are being sued by servers over fees they claim they are owed. Suozzi has said the workers were not underpaid.

In 2004, Peter Sylver, then a deputy county executive under Suozzi, pleaded guilty to misusing an office credit card and harassing a female co-worker. He got 3 years probation.

Haber spokesman Galen Alexander said state election law does not require the campaign to put its name on the mailing. "We want to keep the focus on Suozzi," he said.

Jacobs said Haber is relying "on phony facts about his opponent which he is trying to sell to the voters under a shield of anonymity."

Roslyn political consultant Brad Gerstman, who has worked with both major political parties, said Haber should have put his name on the mailing. "You might as well take ownership," he said. "Any reasonable person would know where it came from."

Haber is challenging Suozzi, a former two-term county executive, in the September primary. The winner will challenge Republican Edward Mangano, who defeated Suozzi in 2009.

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