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Nassau Dems probe county attorney nominee on tax liens

The nominee for Nassau County attorney told a legislative committee Monday that one six-figure federal tax lien against him has been paid, and he hoped another six-figure federal tax lien would be settled in his favor.

John Ciampoli made his remarks to a meeting of the legislature's Rules Committee, which approved his nomination 4-3 on a party-line vote, with all four Republicans voting in favor. The full legislature will take up the nomination on Monday.

Democrats on the Nassau County Legislature questioned Ciampoli on a 2002 IRS lien of $223,100 and another IRS lien of $118,000 from last year. However, none of the four GOP members questioned or commented about the tax liens.

Ciampoli, who recently moved to Franklin Square from Columbia County, said he had been seriously ill around the time of the 2002 lien, and has since paid all his taxes and filed all his returns to satisfy that lien.

"All I can do is say I've been assured by the tax professionals I've employed that the lien is in error and it should be removed," Ciampoli told the legislators.

He said later outside the room he found out about the 2009 lien only recently when it showed up on a credit report. He refused to say what the lien involved, other than it was "personal."

The Democratic minority leader, Legis. Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, brought up the liens, and asked Ciampoli whether he might encounter a conflict of interest because as county attorney he oversees the sale of tax liens. Ciampoli said he saw no conflict since his liens were for income taxes and the county liens were for unpaid property taxes.

County Executive Edward Mangano, a Bethpage Republican, said through a spokesman that Ciampoli "voluntarily disclosed that a background check may reveal a disputed lien. He further indicated that his taxes were filed, paid and up to date and stated that he had filed a dispute that is pending with the IRS Tax Advocacy Unit."

During the campaign for county executive last fall, it became public that Mangano was tied to a Bethpage printing firm owned by his brother that had more than $900,000 in federal and state tax liens. Mangano denied any connection to the family business over the last 10 years, although he listed it on his financial disclosure forms filed with the county clerk.

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