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Long IslandNassau

Hempstead leaders urge town clerk to quit

Hempstead Town Clerk Mark A. Bonilla now faces calls for his resignation from some of the same town board members who initially appointed him.

Before becoming town clerk, Bonilla was a lawyer for nearly 10 years and practiced criminal defense, landlord-tenant and domestic relations law, then was a trial attorney for an insurance company.

Bonilla, 50, is a graduate of St. John's University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice; he has a law degree from Touro Law Center.

The board named him to the clerk position in March 2003 after Kate Murray left the job to become town supervisor. He was elected later that year and won his fifth term in November 2011.

Nearly all the members of the board who originally appointed him are still serving, and joined Murray at a news conference Saturday demanding he step down. None responded to requests seeking comment.

"He had a good reputation until now," said Assemb. Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square), who rose through the ranks of the Nassau Republican Party along with Bonilla. Ra added he was "shocked" by the charges against the town clerk.

Ra said he has known Bonilla for a few years and mostly interacts with him at community functions. He said Bonilla's actions, if proven true, were out of line for anyone, especially for an elected official.

"Obviously, as a public official, we're expected to conduct ourselves a certain way," Ra said.

With Patrick Whittle


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