Democrats in the Nassau County Legislature have demanded the removal of an Ed Mangano holdover appointee to a county board due to conflicts of interest and a pending investigation into political fundraising.
Oyster Bay Deputy Town Supervisor Gregory Carman Jr., a Republican, was appointed in 2015 to the county’s Assessment Review Commission (ARC) by the former county executive and continues to serve as a commissioner, even though his term expired in 2018. The ARC reviews challenges to property tax assessments.
Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), Arnold W. Drucker (D-Plainview) and Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury) signed a March 9 letter to County Executive Laura Curran demanding his removal, citing a stream of taxpayer-funded mailers from the town of Oyster Bay criticizing the county’s property reassessment policy.
"Given the adversarial stance that his town government has publicly adopted and the town’s palpable hostility to the County’s assessment process, we believe it is impossible that the Deputy Town Supervisor can perform his statutory duty as an ARC Commissioner with any semblance of impartiality or neutrality," the legislators wrote in the letter.
Drucker said in an interview Thursday that the town’s mailings contain "inflammatory attacks on the county’s assessment system which are clearly politically motivated partisan communication."
"The assessment review commission is tasked with determining whether or not the particular assessment, based on the model and the criteria that they use, is accurate," Drucker said. "If he has political views that it’s a defective system or fraught with errors, I don’t think that’s the proper place [for Carman] to be."
Carman declined to be interviewed Thursday but wrote in an email, "I’ve served the Assessment Review Commission with professionalism for almost 6 years and I’m not surprised the Democrats want to fill my expired term with one of their own."
Carman is also a partner in the Farmingdale law firm Carman Callahan & Ingham LLP, which represents several water districts in Oyster Bay.
On Monday, Curran appointed Ralph Vincent Morales, a partner at the Garden City-based law firm of Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter LLP, to replace Carman, but that appointment is subject to approval by the Republican majority County Legislature.
Democrats also cited an investigation by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas into allegations that Carman, who is also the head of the Farmingdale Republican Committee, improperly solicited political contributions from town employees who received raises. In December, when the investigation was made public, the committee issued a statement that its fundraising had followed the letter of the law.
Singas spokesman Brendan Brosh wrote Thursday in an email that the investigation is ongoing.
Drucker said the investigation puts Carman "under a cloud of suspicion" and is another reason why Democratic legislators are calling for his removal.