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Mangano campaign paid $14,000 to former prosecutors' law firms

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano before he was

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano before he was sworn into office for his second term by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Feinman at Bethpage High School in Bethpage on Jan. 2, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's campaign committee paid a total of $14,000 to two law firms led by former prosecutors, according to new campaign finance records.

Friends of Ed Mangano made a $4,000 payment to the Mineola firm of LaRusso, Conway & Bartling on Feb. 5, according to a report filed this week with the state Board of Elections.

The campaign also made a $10,000 payment to the Garden City firm of Kevin Keating on May 27, records show.

Both payments were identified in campaign records as "professional services." A Mangano spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment.

Joseph Conway, a partner in LaRusso, Conway & Bartling, declined to comment on the payment from Mangano's committee. Conway and his law partner, Robert LaRusso, worked as prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York, and each has extensive knowledge of federal criminal investigations.

Keating is a former Manhattan assistant district attorney with experience defending officials in public corruption cases.

"I was retained to offer advice and counsel to the county executive," Keating said Friday. "Of course, any further comment would violate attorney-client privilege."

The time frame of the payments to Conway's firm by Mangano's committee coincided with a federal investigation into state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and his son, Adam.

Federal prosecutors allege that Dean Skelos, then Senate majority leader, illegally influenced the 2013 awarding of a $12 million county storm-water treatment contract to AbTech Industries, an Arizona firm that employed Adam Skelos.

Dean and Adam Skelos pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, extortion and bribery that were filed in May.

The Hicksville Republican Committee, led by Mangano's chief deputy county executive, Rob Walker, made two $4,000 payments to LaRusso, Conway & Bartling -- the first on Feb. 20 and the other on June 26, according to campaign records. Walker said the payment was to "review" the committee's documents "and deal with any issue we can possibly have."

The complaint filed in the Skelos case refers to Walker and Mangano by their titles and describes conversations Dean Skelos allegedly had with each about AbTech. Newsday in April quoted sources as saying that Mangano had testified before a federal grand jury investigating the Skelos case.

Neither Mangano nor Walker has been accused of any wrongdoing.

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