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Long IslandPolitics

Richard Schaffer still on sidelines in Assembly special election

While Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has ended his probe of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraising, Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer says he still is sitting out the Assembly special election race in which teacher Christine Pellegrino is the Democratic candidate.

Schaffer said his legal adviser has told him the de Blasio matter has been referred to the state Board of Elections and still could result in a civil action against the mayor and his aides.

Schaffer balked at becoming involved with the last minute candidacy of Pellegrino, saying he had been called as a witness in Vance’s probe of allegations that de Blasio funded upstate Democratic State Senate candidates by funneling money illegally through county party committees.

Vance and federal prosecutors said Thursday they were ending their probes of de Blasio’s fundraising without filing charges.

New York United Teachers had sent Suffolk Democrats $100,000 which they wanted earmarked to fund the Senate campaign of Adrienne Esposito. Schaffer returned the money, saying such donations were not legal.

NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn said the union is “very excited” about Pellegrino’s candidacy, but hasn’t decided whether to become involved financially in the contest.

Republicans have named Conservative Thomas Gargiulo, a retired BOCES teacher, who works for Schaffer, who is also Babylon supervisor, as a town recreation monitor.

The special election in the Ninth Assembly District is May 23.

Rick Brand

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