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Corruption case against former NuHealth official allowed to continue, judge rules

Larry Slatky of Cold Spring Harbor, a former

Larry Slatky of Cold Spring Harbor, a former executive for Nassau Health Care Corp., is seen on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Slatky has pleaded not guilty to the two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct that he's facing. Credit: NCDA

A Nassau judge has refused to toss out an indictment against a former public health system executive in a misdemeanor public corruption case, according to court records.

Larry Slatky, 64, of Cold Spring Harbor, pleaded not guilty in October to two counts of official misconduct. The alleged crimes happened when he was executive vice president of operations for Nassau Health Care Corp. or NuHealth -- a $545 million public benefit corporation that includes Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

In a May 12 decision, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Philip Grella said there were "no grounds upon which to dismiss or reduce the indictment."

"Additionally, this court finds that the evidence before the grand jury was legally sufficient to support the crimes charged in the indictment," he also wrote.

Prosecutors have alleged Slatky -- who resigned before his 2014 indictment -- ordered in 2010 that a friend's company get a laundry contract for a publicly-run Uniondale nursing home instead of the actual lowest bidder. They claimed the defendant negotiated a new lowest bid from the company -- FDR Services Corp. -- even though they hadn't originally bid the lowest among seven sealed bids.

"The rules for awarding public contracts are designed to ensure fairness for bidders and to protect taxpayers and we are ready to move forward with this case," said Shams Tarek, spokesman for the Nassau district attorney's office.

Defense lawyers Brian Griffin and John Martin had argued the evidence "was legally insufficient" to show any crimes were committed. In their motion, they said Slatky wasn't a public official, but an administrator of a public benefit corporation independent of the state. The defense also said Slatky finalized, but didn't award the contract -- a deal they said saved his employer more than $70,000.

Assistant District Attorney Jesse Aviram had countered that there was no doubt Slatky had been a public official, and that the defendant didn't act to benefit his employer because he bypassed a chance to negotiate with the true lowest bidder.

"While Mr. Slatky is disappointed, the court's decision is not surprising given the very low level of proof required at the grand jury," Griffin said Friday of the judge's decision. "We remain confident that when a trial jury sees all the facts of this case, it will come to the undeniable conclusion that Mr. Slatky has done nothing wrong."

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