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Huntington Town candidates get extensions to file ethics forms

Huntington Town Hall in Huntington is shown on

Huntington Town Hall in Huntington is shown on Friday,  Sept. 2, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

Several candidates running for office in Huntington failed to file financial disclosure forms by the deadline set in the recently rewritten town ethics code and were given extensions to provide the forms.

All but one candidate complied with the request to file, town officials said.

Ethics board counsel Steven Leventhal on Oct. 18 sent letters to Emily Rogan, Democratic candidate for town board, James Leonick and Edmund Smyth, Republican candidates for town board, and highway superintendent candidates John Clark, a Republican, and Kevin Orelli, a Democrat, telling them they had to file disclosures and giving them a deadline of Oct. 28.

A second letter was sent Oct. 25 to supervisor candidates — both running on platforms with ethics reform as a priority — Republican Assemb. Chad Lupinacci and Michael Raspantini, who is running on the End Corruption in Huntington Party line, with the same instructions to file the form within 10 days.

“The letter was sent to ensure that first-time candidates for town elective office were aware of their obligation under the code of ethics to file statements of financial disclosure,” Leventhal said in an email. “It was also sent to inform the candidates that a FOIL [Freedom of Information Law] request was received for copies of their disclosure forms and to give them an opportunity to identify any information that they believed would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if released.”

Under the town ethics code, which was rewritten in 2015, candidates are required to file the form within 30 days of nomination or designation.

Town officials said the letter to Rogan was sent in error because she filed her form in June. Democratic town board members Tracey Edwards, who is running for supervisor, and Mark Cuthbertson, who is running for re-election, filed their forms by May 15 as required by the code.

Democratic Highway Superintendent candidate Orelli failed to file his form by the extended Oct. 28 deadline.

All of the other candidates who received the letter recently compiled with the town’s request.

“The campaign didn’t file right away because all of the candidate’s financial information is already publicly disclosed and online for anyone to view through the New York State Joint Commission of Public Ethics,” said Brian Finnegan, campaign manager for Lupinacci. “The campaign then forwarded all of the financial records to the town before ever having to be contacted by anyone on the ethics board.”

That paperwork was received sometime over the last two weeks, town officials said.

Raspantini said he had no idea the form was required.

“Even if I did receive it [the letter], I don’t know if I would be complying with it because in my opinion the ethics board needs an overhaul,” he said.

Huntington Town Republican Chairwoman Toni Tepe said in an email that her team is in full compliance with the town code.

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