This story was reported by Nicole Fuller, Robert E. Kessler, Bridget Murphy, Emily Ngo and Andrew Smith.
A former contractor who had been awarded millions of dollars in work from Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay testified Thursday that he gave Edward Mangano $3,600 in cash in 2012 to ensure the then-county executive would “take care” of any problems that might arise.
“I wanted to do something for Ed and of course to benefit myself,” said Anthony Gulino, 54, of Ridge, taking the stand in the federal corruption trial of Mangano, his wife, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.
The trial is in its ninth week in Central Islip.
“It would alleviate problems, if I had them in the future,” the witness said. “If something came up, he would take care of it.”
Gulino said he repaired a porch railing at Mangano’s Bethpage home and then on Sept. 7, 2012, handed Mangano an envelope that contained an invoice for the job — which totaled $3,585 — as well as the cash. Mangano gave him a check for the work but accepted the cash, Gulino said.
Mangano and Venditto are fighting charges that they took bribes from restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for helping Singh secure two lucrative county contracts and more than $20 million in town-guaranteed loans.
Singh has testified that he provided the former officials with perks that included free vacations for the Mangano family and a no-show job for Mangano’s wife, Linda, that paid $450,000 and free meals and free limousine services for Venditto.
An FBI forensic accountant who took the stand later Thursday discussed data culled from subpoenaed bank accounts, credit card accounts and other financial documents.
William Delgais’ analyses showed expenses incurred by Singh when his family vacationed with Mangano’s were disproportionately higher.
On a 2010 trip to Niagara Falls, Singh spent about $5,000 on his credit cards and the Manganos spent about $1,300, Delgais testified. On a 2011 trip to Marco Island, Florida, Singh charged more than $20,000 while the Manganos charged about $1,900, the witness said. On a 2013 trip to Turks and Caicos, Singh charged more than $7,700 and the Manganos charged about $630, according to Delgais.
The FBI employee said he also analyzed cash withdrawals by the Manganos and didn’t find any at the vacation spots or see any large withdrawals before their trips with Singh.
Delgais also testified that the Manganos’ financial records showed Linda Mangano received her first paycheck from Singh in April 2010. The witness said she earned about $88,000 that year — the same year that Edward Mangano’s salary was reduced by about $110,000 when he left his position at a law firm upon his election to county executive.
Edward Mangano, 56, of Bethpage, and Venditto, 68, of North Massapequa, have pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest-services wire fraud, extortion for Mangano and securities fraud for Venditto.
Linda Mangano, 54, of Bethpage, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.
Venditto’s lawyer, Mark Agnifilo of Manhattan, had initially said Thursday he planned to have Jonathan Pickhardt, a lawyer who represented the then-Oyster Bay town supervisor, to appear in court as part of Venditto’s defense.
The plan to call Pickhardt — to make the case that Venditto acted under his lawyer’s advice — led prosecutors to request correspondence from Oyster Bay that the town previously claimed was protected by attorney-client privilege.
U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack was expected to take up the question Friday. But John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, said Agnifilo withdrew the request.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Edward Mangano’s defense attorney, Kevin Keating of Garden City, sought to establish that the money Gulino gave Mangano couldn’t have been a bribe because the contractor got nothing improper or unusual in return from the county executive.
Gulino said that by September 2012 — when Mangano got his porch railing replaced — Gulino already had a $20 million, three-year requirements county contract to do site work.
The contract had been awarded in 2011.
Gulino didn’t win the bid for renewal in either 2014 or 2017, he acknowledged.
Gulino said he bid more often on county contracts after Mangano’s election in 2009, but didn’t always win.
Keating also underscored inconsistencies between Gulino’s testimony on the stand and what he had told federal authorities in pretrial interviews.
Gulino said Thursday that he tried to give then-Deputy Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Leonard Genova cash in an envelope in 2005 after completing work at his home that would have cost about $4,000 or $5,000. Gulino said he put the cash in an envelope with the invoice, but Genova rejected it.
Keating noted that the witness had gotten wrong both the date and the cost of the work he did for Genova.
“I don’t remember the dates, sir,” Gulino said.
“Well, you did, sir, here in court,” Keating replied. “You remember it to be in 2005.”
It was actually an $8,000 job done in 2010, not a $5,000 job in 2005, Keating said.
Gulino, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion last February, has a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.
Keating grilled the witness on the porch railing episode of 2012, when Gulino said he had provided cash in an envelope to Mangano.
“On your oath, Mr. Gulino, on your oath: Mr. Mangano didn’t take that money, did he?” Keating asked.
“He took the money,” Gulino said. “He took the money.”
Singh testified in late March that Mangano had asked him to launder the $3,600 from Gulino because Mangano feared the bills were “marked.”
In his questioning of Delgais, Keating asked if the FBI forensic accountant knew that the Marco Island trip on which Singh spent more than $20,000 included not only Singh’s wife and three children but Singh’s brother and his family.
Delgais said the government hadn’t told him that, but he had seen some records that seemed to support it.
Delgais said he had no knowledge of whether the Manganos would stay at destinations for a shorter period of time than the Singhs when they vacationed together.
He also said he didn’t know if Singh ever used airline points airfare.
Agnifilo, Venditto’s attorney, challenged Delgais on whether he examined financial patterns relating to Genova.
Agnifilo has sought to establish that Genova — who testified that he for years was Venditto’s right-hand man in the town — was much closer to the Singh scheme.
Delgais explained that he wasn’t asked to include Genova on a list of limousine-trip participants whose rides were charged to Singh. Delgais said he didn’t recall that there were between 40 and 50 rides by Genova.
Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman, asked Delgais about how much time he had spent investigating the case, including when his work started and how many other projects he had going on at the same time.
Delgais agreed that he did “a lot” of work for the FBI and estimated he worked on the case about 40 percent of his time each month since starting his analyses for the government last March.