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Leonard Genova, Oyster Bay town attorney, announces resignation

Oyster Bay Town Attorney Leonard Genova resigned

Oyster Bay Town Attorney Leonard Genova resigned on Monday, according to a town spokeswoman. May 24, 2016 Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Oyster Bay Town Attorney Leonard Genova, who long served as former Supervisor John Venditto’s right-hand man, resigned Monday.

Genova’s resignation follows that of the indicted Venditto, who quit last week.

Genova, 53, has not been charged in the scandal surrounding the town’s concession agreements with Harendra Singh, who, along with Venditto, has been charged in a bribery scheme revolving around disputed loan guarantees.

Genova’s signature appears on disputed agreements that purport to obligate Oyster Bay to pay Singh’s creditors millions of dollars. Genova has not commented on why his signatures were on the documents. The town is fighting lawsuits from three of Singh’s creditors seeking to collect more than $18 million. Creditors allege in two of those suits that Genova and his former deputy, Frederick Mei, engaged in fraud.

“I have enjoyed my tenure with the town of Oyster Bay and working with all my colleagues in town government,” Genova said in his resignation letter, addressed to Acting Supervisor Joseph Muscarella, who did not return a call for comment Monday.

Town spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email Monday regarding Genova’s resignation that “he doesn’t wish to speak regarding the matter any further.”

Genova began working for the town in 1992 as an assistant town attorney under then-Town Attorney Venditto. In 2002, four years after Venditto became town supervisor, Genova was appointed deputy supervisor. When he became town attorney in 2010, the town board granted him powers to perform the supervisor’s duties, including signing contracts. Genova continued to use both titles publicly and in town documents until Venditto’s arrest in October, when the town acknowledged he only held the title of town attorney.

As a political fundraiser, Genova led the Massapequa South Republican Club, which Newsday reported in 2015 had donated $151,740 to local political candidates in the previous nine years, but had failed to file disclosures with the state board of elections, as required by law. The club filed disclosures in 2015 and 2016.

Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said Genova had been devoted to the town throughout many personal difficulties, including the death of his wife Stephanie in 2015.

“I really valued my time working with him,” Alesia said.

Chris Briggs, a former town employee and whistleblower who brought the Singh scandal to light, said the departures of Genova and Venditto were “a victory for Oyster Bay and its residents.”

“Two big pieces of the problem are finally not governing our township anymore,” Briggs said.

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