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Joseph Mondello levels sharp criticism at GOP officials embroiled in corruption scandals

Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Mondello speaks

Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Mondello speaks to the crowd during a nomination ceremony for town and county candidates for the fall on May 6, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello on Wednesday leveled extraordinary criticism at GOP officials who are embroiled in public corruption scandals, saying he was “angry as hell,” and would do everything he can to “get them out of the party” if they are convicted.

While he declined to mention anyone by name, Mondello in an interview vented frustration at the drumbeat of accusations against his party’s elected and appointed officials in state and local government.

“Whatever they do with their lives, I can’t control,” Mondello said. “But they’re not going to ruin this organization. We have 300 elected officials in this county and for the six or eight bad ones, all the others are taking it on the chin.

“I’m upset on behalf of those good people,” Mondello said, his voice rising. “I’m angry as hell at the bad people.”

Mondello’s comments came in response to a question about his reaction to the numerous corruption cases in 2015 involving Nassau Republicans.

He was asked about former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was convicted last week of federal charges of bribery, extortion and conspiracy; Oyster Bay Planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito, who faces federal charges of failing to report $2 million in income from a town contractor; Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who Newsday has reported accepted trips funded by indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh, and Mangano’s chief deputy, Rob Walker, who is under federal investigation for county contracts given to his campaign contributors.

Ippolito has pleaded not guilty. Mangano and Walker have not been charged and deny any wrongdoing.

Asked about Mangano, Mondello said “that’s all rumor,” and didn’t criticize him. Pressed further, he said: “In terms of Eddie, I just don’t know. I’m not a county employee. I’m the last one they’re going to tell.”

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin did not respond to a request for comment.

Mondello in the past has declined to comment on the individual corruption cases.

He said he’s speaking out now from frustration that the cases are damaging the county GOP. Last month, the party’s top candidate, Kate Murray, was defeated for Nassau district attorney by Democrat Madeline Singas, who made corruption an issue.

“I think it’s hurt everyone and has brought everyone’s popularity down,” Mondello said.

He said he has “cold-shouldered” some party officials whom he would not identify.

“It’s more than just a hiccup. There’s a lot going on and it has me really upset,” Mondello said of the impact of the cases.

He said he was serious about ridding the party of officials found guilty of corruption.

“I’m going to do anything in my power to stop their political careers and governmental careers,” Mondello said. “Anybody who doesn’t think I have the stones to do this is making a serious mistake.”

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