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Power on Trial: More witnesses testify about Linda Mangano

Linda Mangano arrives at the federal courthouse in

Linda Mangano arrives at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on April 26, 2018. Photo Credit: James Carbone

More like a favor

Tara Baglietto, a former Harendra Singh employee who handled marketing in 2014, initially told federal officials that she didn’t remember having any interaction with Linda Mangano.

That changed after prosecutors asked her to review a few emails as she testified Thursday in the trial of Mangano and her husband, former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto.

As it turns out, Baglietto did have contact with Linda Mangano, via a series of emails in which the marketing employee asked her to place an ad for Singh’s Chow Down Diner in The Bethpage Tribune, a community newspaper run by Linda Mangano.

She and Linda Mangano also had an exchange about whether the restaurant should distribute coupons at an upcoming local festival.

“That was not a professional transaction, more that it was a favor being asked,” Baglietto testified, describing the emails.

She said she did not know at the time that Linda Mangano was on Singh’s payroll.

Sick call

“Did you have to take time away from your work today to come here for this?” John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, asked prosecution witness Karen Dallago before she ended her testimony.

Dallago, a partner in a restaurant design firm, testified that she worked with Singh, his wife, Ruby, and a few other Singh employees and vendors on restaurant interior makeovers.

Like several witnesses before her, Dallago said she never saw or had contact with Linda Mangano. “Not to my recollection,” she testified.

Carman asked just the one question on redirect.

And Dallago answered that, no, she had not taken time from work.

She’s been sick, she said.

And she had a doctor’s appointment slated for later.

“Feel better,” U.S. District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack said as she dismissed the witness — the last one in a truncated day of testimony, on the last working day of the seventh week of the trial.

Party time

Jaclyn Aleo, a former assistant manager at Singh’s Tom Tom restaurant in Wantagh, testified that Richard Betz, Oyster Bay’s former public works commissioner, was a frequent visitor at the eatery.

“It was understood that he would come in and he did not pay,” Aleo testified.

One day, she said, Betz came in and demanded a room “so he and his 30 friends could party,” she said.

She said the group ate and drank $1,000 worth of food.

And he did not pay for it.

“It was memorable,” Aleo testified, as a photograph of Betz was projected on the courtroom’s largest screen and a few spectators laughed.

“Like,” she added, her voice rising, “who does that?”

As the crow flies

Butch Yamali, owner of the Dover Group, which operates several Long Island restaurants and other businesses, said his firm was ready, willing and able to provide food for workers at Nassau’s Office of Emergency Management after superstorm Sandy.

“I thought it was our work,” he testified, going on to detail in chapter and verse why he believed that to be so.

Yamali refused to be shaken from his view, even under a tough cross-examination from Matt Brissenden, one of Edward Mangano’s defense attorneys.

At one point, Yamali argued with Brissenden’s assertion — supported by a Google map printout — that a Dover warehouse in Plainview was 5.2 miles from Nassau’s OEM in Bethpage.

“It’s three,” Yamali insisted.

And when Brissenden mentioned Google maps, Yamali shot back that the route could be different on Waze, a navigation app.

“I don’t know what the point is,” Yamali said.

As Brissenden pressed Yamali on a contract he has with Nassau County, Yamali told him, “You are confused, I can explain it to you.”

And when the lawyer honed in on a portion of the contract, Yamali said, “I have a different interpretation.”

And so it went, back and forth, as Brissenden sought to make the case that a vendor other than Yamali could have won an emergency contract to provide food to the OEM.

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