Hempstead will not fight a state Supreme Court decision directing the town to turn over copies of officials’ financial disclosure reports to Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas’ election campaign, the town’s new supervisor said Friday.
Supervisor Anthony Santino, who replaced former Republican Supervisor Kate Murray on Jan. 1, said in a statement, “I am committed to open and accessible government as supervisor of America’s largest township. Accordingly, our town agrees with a recent court decision and will provide full access to and copies of financial disclosure documents retained by the town.”
Santino, a Republican, was elected supervisor at the same time Murray lost to Democrat Singas in the race for district attorney in November.
A month before Election Day, lawyers for Singas, then acting district attorney, had filed suit to force Hempstead to turn over copies of the financial disclosures filed by Murray and other town officials. Hempstead had allowed Singas backers to view the reports, but not to copy the forms, in which Murray acknowledged that she had not practiced law for years.
In late November, state Supreme Court Justice Angela Iannacci sided with Singas, ruling that state law “is abundantly clear in its mandate that a municipal agency shall make all records available for inspection and copying.”
Town lawyers initially filed notice to appeal her decision, but Santino overruled them.
Singas’ former campaign manager, Isaac Goldberg, said, “It should not have required litigation to force the Town of Hempstead to follow the law, but we are encouraged that the town will finally provide full access to these records.”