Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino on Monday appointed Councilman Anthony D’Esposito as deputy supervisor, replacing Councilman Edward Ambrosino after his arrest last week, town spokesman Mike Deery said.
Santino hasn’t called for Ambrosino to resign from his seat on the town board, according to Deery.
Ambrosino was arrested Friday by federal authorities on charges of income tax evasion and wire fraud for failing to pay more than $250,000 in federal income taxes. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bond.
“Government leaders at every level must be held to the highest standard,” Santino said in a statement. “To avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety on the part of my administration, I have taken action to replace the former Deputy Supervisor with Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.”
Santino said D’Esposito “is the right person for this position.”
Newsday reported last week that D’Esposito had voted to give his mother, a secretary in the town’s highway department, a $2,500 raise — an action he defended as proper. His father, brother and sister-in-law also work for the town.
D’Esposito, an NYPD detective on an unpaid leave of absence, was appointed to fill Santino’s 4th District council seat last year when Santino became supervisor. D’Esposito then won the election in November to keep his seat. The district represents East Rockaway, Hewlett, Island Park, South Hempstead, Oceanside and Rockville Centre as well as parts of Baldwin, Cedarhurst, Lynbrook, Malverne, Valley Stream and Woodmere.
“On the day he was sworn in, the Supervisor demanded nothing less than unimpeachable integrity from his administration. My career as a NYPD Detective called for that same integrity and professionalism,” D’Esposito said in a statement. “I will practice those same ideals and work with my colleagues to continue a clear direction and promote transparency.”
The deputy supervisor designation allows D’Esposito to sign documents in the supervisor’s absence. It doesn’t include additional pay, Deery said. Councilmembers are paid $71,000 per year.
Ambrosino, an attorney from North Valley Stream, was appointed to the town board in 2003 and won subsequent elections. He represents the 2nd District, which includes Bellerose Terrace, Floral Park, Garden City, Garden City South, New Hyde Park, Salisbury, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor and portions of other communities.
Councilman Bruce Blakeman said Monday that he wasn’t aware of the appointment. He said he would not have been interested in the job if it had been offered to him.
“I know nothing about it,” he said. “I didn’t know the supervisor could do that without a party caucus.”
Deery said no caucus was needed for the appointment to be made.
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney said she wished D’Esposito “the best of luck” and would also not have been interested in the position.
“I think during these challenging times we need clear direction and transparency in local government,” she said.
Town board members Gary Hudes and Dorothy Goosby, and Ambrosino’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.