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Lawyers of former NuHealth executive Larry Slatky want corruption charges dropped

Larry Slatky, a former executive for NuHealth, which

Larry Slatky, a former executive for NuHealth, which runs publicly funded health care facilities in Nassau County, on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Credit: Nassau County DA

Lawyers for a former public health system executive facing corruption charges have asked a Nassau County judge to throw out the case, claiming defendant Larry Slatky didn't commit any crimes.

But the Nassau district attorney's office is forging ahead with its prosecution and has opposed any dismissal of the misdemeanor charges, court records show.

Slatky, 64, of Cold Spring Harbor, pleaded not guilty to two official-misconduct charges in October. An indictment alleged he broke the law by giving a laundry contract for a publicly run nursing home to a friend's company instead of hiring the lowest original bidder.

Authorities said it happened when Slatky 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. He left the job a year ago, before he was indicted.

Prosecutors said Slatky in 2010 ordered that FDR Services Corp. get a laundry contract for A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale. They've alleged he negotiated a new lowest bid even though that company hadn't put in the lowest offer among seven sealed bids.

But Slatky's attorneys, John Martin and Brian Griffin, said in a letter last month to acting state Supreme Court Justice Philip Grella that evidence "was legally insufficient" to show "any crime at all." They said the grand-jury proceeding was slanted because prosecutors didn't call as a witness FDR's president, who would have "presented evidence undermining the prosecution's case."

They also claim Slatky wasn't a public official, but an administrator of a public-benefit corporation that's independent of the state. They said the purchasing director awarded the contract, and Slatky only finalized it -- saving his employer more than $70,000.

"He is not even alleged to have received a penny," the defense wrote.

But Assistant District Attorney Jesse Aviram said in court papers Thursday there was no doubt Slatky had been a public official under the law. He told Grella that grand jurors voted not to hear testimony from FDR's president, and evidence showed Slatky "committed the unauthorized act of awarding the contract" by directing subordinates to do so.

The prosecutor also said Slatky didn't act to benefit his employer because he "bypassed the opportunity to negotiate with the true lowest bidder."

The case is due back in court next month.

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