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Madeline Singas asks probe of hospital firm's endorsement in Nassau DA race

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and acting Nassau

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas are running for the DA job in the November election. Credit: Steve Pfost

Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas is requesting a special prosecutor to probe the possibility of a "quid pro quo" between her election opponent, Kate Murray, and the Nassau Health Care Corp., which runs the financially troubled Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Singas, a Democrat running for district attorney on Tuesday against Republican Murray, said Friday she is concerned about what appears to be a "deep level of coordination" of tweets and news releases between Murray's campaign and Nassau Health Care since Aug. 25 regarding drug abuse. This week, the public benefit corporation issued a news release endorsing Murray.

The tax-exempt corporation, also called NuHealth, subsequently retracted the news release that applauded Murray's call for more asset forfeiture money to be spent to stop heroin abuse, a top issue in the district attorney's race. NUMC, which receives taxpayer subsidies, runs a heroin recovery and referral program.

"How do we know there wasn't a promise made by Kate Murray that she would get forfeiture money to that hospital in return for that endorsement?" Singas said. "I don't know what the answers will be."

Singas also requested an investigation by the New York Commission on Public Ethics, which declined to comment through a spokesman.

Also Friday, Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) in a letter asked NUMC president Victor Politi to account for "NuHealth's bizarre, naive and foolishly partisan decision to endorse a candidate for Nassau District Attorney, thereby placing the hospital's tax exempt status in deep jeopardy."

Nassau Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) wrote New York's inspector general about the "undisguised campaign pitch for a political favorite using the resources and reputation and goodwill of a public benefit corporation."

NUMC spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg did not respond to a request for additional comment beyond the retraction, which said the release "was not authorized by NUMC, was issued in error and its contents were not the opinion of NUMC but rather was the opinion of a board member in his individual capacity."

Murray's campaign did not return a request for comment Friday.

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