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Power on Trial: Installed flooring and backing for a loan

Linda Mangano leaves federal court in Central Islip

Linda Mangano leaves federal court in Central Islip on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

Pacific ash wood

So now we know, according to testimony Tuesday morning, just what Linda Mangano selected as new bedroom flooring to replace carpeting that’d been spoiled by the family’s dogs.

It was ash wood. The grade was Pacific. And the color — as stocked by Gold Coast Flooring Supply in Hicksville — was Victorian, which looked dark brown in photos shown in courtroom cameras.

The flooring materials, Steven Hart, the showroom manager testified, cost $2,301.81.

Former restaurateur Harendra Singh testified earlier in the trial that he had paid for the flooring — and, later, the installation.

“Have you ever sold a floor as a gift for a friend?” a prosecutor asked Hart.

To which a defense attorney objected.

To which U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack sustained.

The handyman can

Mykola Viksich, who was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the United States in 1995, spoke through an interpreter to tell jurors about his dealings with Singh, and about installing floors in both the Singh and Mangano homes.

“I was working like a handyman for him,” Viksich testified about Singh.

He said it took him three or four days to install the floor in the Mangano household, a timetable he stuck with even after defense attorneys suggested the job might have taken two to three days. He said he also was told by Singh to paint the bedroom, with one coat of paint, as part of the job.

“There was exercise equipment in that room,” Viksich explained, “and it was heavy and it took some time to move it around.”

He said he charged about $2,000 for the job.

Later, Viksich said that he’d also installed basement flooring in Singh’s Laurel Hollow home — flooring Singh earlier had described as “plastic.”

“It is an inexpensive linoleum,” Viksich testified.

He said Singh’s wife, Ruby, paid for the flooring, and that he charged $900 for installation.

At that, John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, quipped, “Are you available next week?”

Triple A rating

The Town of Oyster Bay’s excellent ratings from Wall Street bond agencies were pivotal in Madison National Bank’s decision to give Singh up to $5 million in a loan and line of credit in 2010 and 2011, Thomas Gilmartin, the banks then-executive vice president and chief lending officer, testified Tuesday.

That determination came after the bank decided that Singh’s personal and business finances weren’t strong enough to back the loan and line of credit on their own.

Gilmartin also testified that the town-guaranteed funds Madison lent to Singh could have been used for pretty much any purpose, including payroll and other expenses for his private businesses.

Testimony from Gilmartin — and for that matter, Singh — detailed publicly for the first time the thinking behind Oyster Bay’s decision to find a way to skirt the New York State Constitution to help Singh.

The constitution bars municipalities — and by extension, their taxpayers — from guaranteeing private loans. Gilmartin said then-Oyster Bay Deputy Town Attorney Frederick Mei found another solution: The town would agree to assign concession payments to the bank if Singh defaulted.

But, Gilmartin testified, the bank didn’t make such a distinction.

“It didn’t matter what anybody called it,” he said. “We, internally, called it a guarantee.”

He also said that the bank viewed such agreements as “pretty much ironclad.”

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