Nassau District Attorney candidate Madeline Singas said Tuesday that if elected, her office would expand its review of Nassau County's contracting system to include towns and cities to "expose vulnerabilities to corruption."
Singas, the Democratic acting district attorney, made the pledge at a Mineola news conference. Singas attacked her Republican opponent, Kate Murray, the Hempstead Town supervisor, accusing her of mismanaging awards for millions of dollars in town contracts.
Singas said a search of the town's website yields no information about the town's requests for proposals -- bids that contractors submit to municipalities to be considered for work. The website also does not display information about the town's procurement process and does not mention bidding opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, Singas said.
"Hempstead's contracting process is a black box and Kate Murray and her political patrons hold the keys," Singas said.
Murray said she had "no response" to Singas' charges but questioned the timing of the news conference: "It's seven days until the election -- sounds a little suspicious and a little political to me."
Hempstead Town spokesman Michael Deery said: "We follow all of the proper contracting procedures including competitive bidding and disclosures." He said the town pays to publish bid requests and contract information in Newsday and industry journals.
In calling for a review of contracting in Nassau's three towns and two cities, Singas cited last month's arrest of Town of Oyster Bay contractor Harendra Singh on bribery charges as a reason a "review must be broadened to the local level." Singh, a restaurateur, has pleaded not guilty.
Singas said town contracts are "administered by political donors" to Murray's campaign. Singas noted state campaign finance reports that show the town's purchasing director Gary Parisi, and William Rockensies, commissioner of the engineering department, each contributed more than $20,000 to Murray and other GOP campaigns since 2006. Deery did not respond to questions about the allegation, but confirmed Parisi's and Rockensies' job titles and said the employees are involved in Hempstead's contracting process.
With Paul LaRocco