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Singas questions Murray on new disclosure in Skelos case

Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas criticizes Hempstead

Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas criticizes Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, her opponent in the race for Nassau district attorney, at a news conference outside Town Hall in Hempstead on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Credit: Chuck Fadely

Nassau district attorney candidate Madeline Singas Monday called on her opponent Kate Murray, the Hempstead Town supervisor, to disclose whether she or other town officials were asked to name state Sen. Dean Skelos' daughter-in-law to the town's zoning board.

Last Friday, federal prosecutors sought a judge's approval to introduce evidence in Skelos' upcoming corruption trial which they say shows that Rockville Centre Republican tried to use his clout as then-Senate majority leader to get his daughter-in-law placed on a Nassau town zoning board, so his son, Adam, could "corruptly obtain zoning decisions favorable to real estate deals he brokered given his wife's appointment."

Court filings do not name the town in question, but Singas, a Democrat and the acting district attorney, said it's Hempstead, citing a state law that requires appointees to live in the municipality in which they are appointed. She said that as Rockville Centre residents, Adam and Ann Marie Skelos would be "statutorily precluded from serving on any other town's zoning board."

"In light of Friday's disturbing allegations by federal prosecutors, I'm calling on Kate Murray to fully disclose her dealings with both Dean and Adam Skelos, two men who have been federally indicted for bribery, extortion and fraud," said Singas at a news conference in front of Hempstead Town Hall.

Asked about the federal probe, Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said: "We have no knowledge of any such attempt to place the person in question on a zoning board."

Federal prosecutors said in court filings that attempts to name Ann Marie Skelos to the board were "thwarted by publicity surrounding the instant case, among other things."

A spokeswoman for U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara's office said the office could not confirm which Nassau town is the one mentioned in the court filings, because "this information is not contained in any charging documents and is therefore not public information."

Singas also criticized Murray for filling spots on the Hempstead Town Zoning Board of Appeals with Republicans who have contributed money to Murray's previous campaigns -- six of the seven board members are Republicans and one is a registered Conservative. Four of the appointees to the board have donated a combined $10,200 to Murray's town supervisor campaign account from 2007 to 2014, according to state campaign finance records.

Meanwhile, Murray looked to shore up support among women voters Monday with a campaign appearance in Franklin Square alongside Malverne Mayor Patti McDonald, where she was to address women on domestic violence, heroin abuse and her plan for an elder affairs bureau to investigate crimes targeting senior citizens.

"I will be the tough District Attorney that Nassau needs," Murray said in remarks provided by her campaign. "I am committed to keeping our families safe and making our county the safest county in the nation."

With Paul LaRocco


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