Two candidates for Nassau County executive on Wednesday urged Democratic Legis. Carrié Solages to resign after his arrest on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, while other officials cautioned against a rush to judgment.
Solages (D-Elmont) pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Authorities said Solages, who represents the 3rd Legislative District, grabbed his girlfriend at her Valley Stream home and threw her against a wall. The victim’s 14-year-old daughter attempted to intervene, jumping on Solages’ back, prosecutors said.
Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), who has the backing of the Nassau Democratic Party for county executive, said “if these allegations are even vaguely true, he needs to resign immediately.”
Curran, who is estranged from the Democratic legislative caucus after voting with the GOP for $50 million in borrowing last year, said Solages’ actions “undermined his ability to appropriately represent the people of his district.”
Former state Sen. Jack Martins, the GOP county executive nominee, urged Solages to step down immediately. “There is no place in public office for anyone who would raise their hand to a woman,” Martins said.
County Comptroller George Maragos, Curran’s opponent in the September Democratic primary, said while he finds the charges “alarming, we should reserve judgment until all of the facts in this tragic domestic situation are bought to light.”
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said, “If the allegations are true we find them reprehensible and Legis. Solages should remove himself from office immediately.”
Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs called the allegations “disturbing” and “deeply troubling.” But Jacobs stopped short of calling for Solages to resign, saying he needed to “figure out the exact facts from all parties.”
At a news conference in Mineola, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), joined with the three other female members of the GOP Legislative caucus — Legis. Denise Ford of Long Beach, Laura Schaefer of Westbury and Rose Marie Walker of Hicksville — to call for Solages’ resignation.
Gonsalves also asked Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, a Democrat, to appoint a special prosecutor to ensure the “process is fair, unbiased and free from political interference.” A Singas spokeswoman declined to comment.
Solages’ attorney Brian Griffin said his client had no immediate plans to resign.
All 19 legislative seats are up for election in November.
Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello declined to comment.
The GOP has nominated Paul Sapienza, former president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, as its candidate for the seat. Legislative Republicans have an 11-7 advantage with one vacancy.
Solages, an Elmont attorney, won the legislative seat in 2011.
During the campaign, a volunteer working for his incumbent opponent, Republican John Ciotti, who died earlier this year, got into an altercation with Solages’ sister over signs posted on a fence outside the Democrat’s campaign headquarters.
The volunteer was caught on videotape saying to Michaelle Solages, now a state assemblywoman, “Don’t worry, we’re gonna put them on the back of the bus where they belong.”
Nassau Democrats have campaigned on an anti-corruption message after the arrests of County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto last year on federal corruption charges and this year’s arrest of Hempstead Town Board member Edward Ambrosino on wire fraud and tax evasion charges. All have pleaded not guilty.
Jacobs on Wednesday said Solages’ arrest would not undermine the Democratic message.
“Every wrong is not equivalent,” Jacobs said. “This is bad on a personal level. But that’s different from abuse of the public trust and committing public corruption to enrich your family and friends.”With Paul LaRocco