Nassau Legislator Wayne Wink, a candidate for Nassau Comptroller, calls...

Nassau Legislator Wayne Wink, a candidate for Nassau Comptroller, calls on Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to fire Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli. (April 11, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau Legis. Wayne Wink, a Democratic candidate for county comptroller, on Thursday called on County Executive Edward Mangano to fire County Attorney John Ciampoli, citing a series of legal losses that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Ciampoli's leadership of the county attorney's office has resulted in debilitating court losses, further crushing Nassau County's finances and saddling Nassau taxpayers with millions [of dollars] in outside contracts with politically connected lawyers," Wink said at a news conference in Mineola.

Wink (D-Roslyn) said Ciampoli's "misguided opinions" have made Nassau responsible for more than $350 million in potential liability. Wink cited recent court decisions that could require Nassau to pay more than $230 million in back pay and benefits from a NIFA-imposed wage freeze and another $80 million stemming from Nassau's attempt to shift the cost of property tax refunds to school districts and towns. Both cases are being appealed.

Ciampoli countered that his office also won several major cases, including one involving three men who sued Nassau unsuccessfully after they served 17 years in prison for rape and murder before their release because of newly discovered DNA evidence.

"I think we've done a pretty darn good job," Ciampoli said. "Wayne Wink is out of touch with the record and performance of this office."

Ciampoli said that while outside legal fees have increased, he also downsized his office staff and spends less than is budgeted every year.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said Mangano has no plans to replace Ciampoli.

"This is nothing but an attempt by Wayne Wink to get his name in the newspaper as he's attempting to run for county comptroller," Nevin said. "John Ciampoli has saved taxpayers over $5 million annually by reducing his staff and using more experienced outside counsels."

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