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Oyster Bay referred eavesdropping allegations to DA, Venditto says

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto is seen

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto is seen at the March 22, 2016, town board meeting. Credit: Newsday / Ted Phillips

Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said the town has referred to the Nassau district attorney’s office allegations about possible eavesdropping on town phone lines.

Venditto made the statement at a town board meeting last week in response to comments made by Massapequa resident Robert Ripp, a frequent town critic.

Ripp said he had been “informed” that a town employee in the IT department had been listening in on conversations on town phone lines and that a new town phone system automatically recorded when certain phrases were mentioned.

“Does this type of phone system exist in the town and is this information that I’ve heard true?” Ripp asked Venditto.

Venditto responded that “the entire matter was handed over to the Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office” a few weeks earlier.

“We’ll await their findings to see who has their facts right,” Venditto said” He declined to answer further questions after the meeting.

“Let’s let it unfold a little bit more,” Venditto said.

A spokesman for Singas’ office said in an email statement: “These matters were brought to us for our review” a few weeks ago.

The new allegations of wrongdoing in Oyster Bay come as town officials continue to deal with the fallout from the arrest of town concessionaire Harendra Singh. Federal prosecutors charged Singh in September with bribing a town official to obtain $20 million in loan guarantees.

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