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Nassau County appointee resigns one day before his confirmation

Robert Troiano, seen on Oct. 31, 2015, resigned

Robert Troiano, seen on Oct. 31, 2015, resigned as acting commissioner for the Nassau County traffic and parking violations agency. Credit: Barry Sloan

Robert Troiano, the Nassau County acting commissioner for traffic and parking violations, resigned Sunday night, weeks after he joined County Executive Laura Curran’s administration and a day before he was to be considered for confirmation by the Nassau Legislature.

A source familiar with the resignation said Troiano’s history of tax liens and foreclosure actions “played a very big role” in his departure.

County records show that Troiano, 64, of Westbury, amassed $81,533 in federal income tax liens between 2010 and 2014, and a $749,264 lien against a house he owns that is facing foreclosure.

Troiano said Sunday night he paid off the income tax liens late last year and the foreclosure had been canceled.

“I have been working through this problem for the last 10 years,” Troiano said in an interview. “I never hid from it, I never avoided working with the IRS to work this out ... I’ve reduced it through monthly payments and at end of the year I made four lump sum payments to bring that balance to zero.”

An IRS spokesman said the agency does not comment on individual taxpayers. The Nassau County Clerk’s office has no records indicating the debts were paid or the foreclosure canceled. Frank Moroney, spokesman for Nassau Republicans, said the GOP caucus learned about Troiano’s tax liens about 10 to 12 days ago.

“Troiano would have been questioned about his financials by the Republicans” during Monday’s confirmation hearing if he had not resigned, Moroney said. “The sheer volume created doubts in people’s minds.”

Troiano is to take a job at the Nassau County Board of Elections, according to a statement issued Sunday night by Curran’s office.

“Robert has always been known for his dedication to diversity and community. His decision to continue that work is very much appreciated. We thank him for his time at TPVA during our first weeks in office and wish him the best in his new position at the Board of Elections,” the statement said.

A Curran administration official said Troiano submitted a resignation letter Sunday night. It was not released.

Nassau legislators said they were not given a reason for Troiano’s resignation.

“We haven’t received any answers about the resignation, which is unacceptable,” said Legis. Josh Lafazan of Syosset, who has no party affiliation.

County officials did not require a financial disclosure statement, Troiano said.

He said in an interview his resignation was related to wanting to stay active in Democratic politics and community organizations in North Hempstead, not his personal finances.

“I was honored to be offered a position with Laura but a requirement of that was that I step down from various positions in order to keep up with Laura’s campaign pledge of taking politics out of government affairs,” Troiano said.

Troiano’s outstanding income tax liens date from 2010 to 2014, with annual unpaid balances ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, documents from the Nassau County Clerk show. Troiano and his wife own a second home in Westbury which has been in foreclosure proceedings since 2012. The approximate amount of the lien on the house is $749,264, with the note and mortgage assigned to Wells Fargo Bank, according to county clerk records. The house had been in foreclosure proceedings intermittently since 2009, documents from the county clerk’s office show.

The property has been scheduled for auction at Nassau State Supreme Court numerous times since September, but has been repeatedly pulled from the agenda, records show. Troiano’s primary residence in Westbury has also previously been in foreclosure proceedings, which were then cancelled, records show.

Troiano pointed to the 2008 recession as the start of his financial problems.

“I had investments around the country in various commercial real estate projects which were generating substantial income,” Troiano said. “In August 2008 my income got more than halved in about the span of a month ... Over time, it got reduced even more than that.”

Troiano was a North Hempstead Town Board member for six years, from 2004 to 2010, then represented Nassau’s Second Legislative District from 2010 to 2013.

In January 2014, he began working as the town’s Director of Operations until becoming senior policy adviser to North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth two years ago.

Troiano’s annual salary was $137,660 at the time he left the town, North Hempstead spokeswoman Carole Trottere said. The parking and traffic violations commissioner position paid $155,000 a year. His board of elections job is to pay $140,000, according to Troiano.

As the commissioner of the traffic and parking violations agency, Troiano was leading an agency with 45 employees that generates nearly $64 million in revenue from traffic fees, parking fees and surcharges, according to a November 2017 county budget report. The job included overseeing the agency’s annual budget, officials said.

Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the public has the right to know about officials with significant amounts of outstanding debt.

“All public officials, just like all of us, are supposed to follow the law,” Horner said. “If you make financial mistakes, you can pay a very heavy price.”

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