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Sources: Mangano wouldn't join Cuomo until Dems left

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Nassau County

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano speak in Merrick to rally support for Cuomo's statewide property tax cap. (July 27, 2010) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

At a much-publicized bipartisan news conference this week between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, two Democratic Nassau legislators were told to leave before the event began.

Mangano, a Republican, would not enter the North Merrick Senior Center where he touted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cuomo's property tax cap plan until after Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) and Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) left, according to sources involved in the event.

Although Cuomo arrived on time for the noon event, he and Mangano did not appear for another 30 minutes. Mangano refused to participate while the two Democratic politicians were in the room, the sources said. Mangano's spokesman denied he had anything to do with their ouster and blamed the delay on an earlier event.

Denenberg said he was asked to leave by Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. "He said it's fine with them but Mangano isn't going to come unless we're not there," Denenberg said.

Wink declined to identify the person who asked him to leave. "It was an emissary who I know personally," he said. "It was clear that it was a request from the campaign."

Denenberg and Wink each provided copies of an e-mailed invitation to the event from Mike Santeramo, executive director of the Nassau Democratic Party. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said no elected officials were invited by the campaign.

"Legislator Denenberg showed up uninvited but, in order to keep politics out of it, after he was able to greet the attendees, we politely asked him to leave before the program began," Vlasto said.

Mangano declined to address the question after a morning news conference Thursday in Mineola. "I'm not going to dignify that with a response," he said, closing a door behind him.

"The Cuomo people made up the guest list," Mangano spokesman Michael Martino said. "It was a Cuomo event. They're the ones that invited people, we didn't."

State and Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who did not attend the event because he was upstate, said he does not know what arrangements Cuomo and Mangano made about invitations to the event.

Both Denenberg and Wink said there was no question they were invited. "If something's in my district, I always go," Denenberg said. "I clearly got an invitation. I support the concept of a property tax cap."

Wink took the high road over his ouster. "I'm assuming it's just a misunderstanding," he said.

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