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Nassau panel approves $295,000 settlement with Randy White

Randy White is seen at the office of

Randy White is seen at the office of attorney Fred Brewington in Hempstead on Aug. 8, 2014 during a press conference. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Nassau County legislative committees on Monday approved a $295,000 settlement with a man whose 2013 arrest set the stage for the resignation of Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.

The Rules and Finance committees voted 7-0 to authorize the settlement with Randy White, who had sued the county and numerous officials in U.S. District Court for violation of his civil rights. The settlement is expected to be approved by the full legislature at its April 25 meeting.

White, 32, of Roosevelt, filed suit in 2014, seeking $46 million in damages. He claimed he was falsely detained and imprisoned, subjected to strip searches and served a civil subpoena in police custody in an attempt to coerce his testimony in a politically charged election case.

Frederick Brewington, White’s Hempstead-based attorney, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

County Attorney Carnell Foskey said only that “the plaintiffs and the defendants have resolved this matter to their satisfaction.” Nassau already had approved payment of $175,000 to an outside law firm that represented the county against White’s claims.

The White case arose after Nassau Democrats challenged nominating petitions for former Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick to run for county executive as a third-party candidate. Democrats contended Hardwick’s candidacy was intended to siphon votes from former Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who was challenging incumbent Republican Edward Mangano.

White, a Hardwick campaign worker, testified he had been paid per signature, a violation of election law. Hardwick denied the allegation, but his petitions were later thrown out.

After White testified in the court hearing that disqualified Hardwick, Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius, the primary financial backer of Hardiwck’s campaign, called Dale to say the Hardwick campaign wanted to file a perjury charge against White, according to an investigation by then-District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

At the direction of Dale and his commanders, police officers in October 2013 pulled White off a public bus in Roosevelt and arrested him on an unrelated $250 misdemeanor warrant.

White was taken to central police detention where Sal Mistretta, an off-duty police sergeant, served him with a subpoena from the Hardwick campaign.

Dale resigned under pressure shortly after Rice presented her findings to Mangano. No criminal charges were filed against any county officials.

Also Monday, the Rules Committee approved the first set of county contracts that include newly required disclosures of vendors’ political contributions to county officials.

The disclosure forms — prompted by recent county contracting controversies — only require vendors and their principals to list contributions made after April 1. Contributions from past years that already are available on the state Board of Elections website do not have to be listed under the county’s new law.

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