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Supervisor to return campaign donation from indicted councilman

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino, left, will

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino, left, will return a donation from Councilman Edward Ambrosino, right, who is under federal indictment, a spokesman said. Credit: Howard Schnapp; Ed Betz

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino will return a $250 donation to his re-election campaign from Councilman Edward Ambrosino, who is under federal indictment, according to a campaign spokesman.

Ambrosino donated the money to Citizens for Santino on Sept. 20, according to state campaign finance records.

“The supervisor was personally unaware of the contribution. Now that he is, it is being returned,” campaign spokesman Matt Coleman said in a statement Monday after Newsday asked about the donation.

Ambrosino is facing federal charges for alleged income tax evasion. He was indicted on several felonies in March and his lawyer said over the summer in federal court that his client was “seeking to resolve” the case and hopes to be “working something out.”

Santino called for Ambrosino’s resignation from the town board after his arrest and removed him from his position as deputy supervisor. Ambrosino remains on the town board and has recently aligned himself with town board members Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman on some matters on which the duo has opposed the supervisor.

Under a newly passed ethics reform law — which Ambrosino, King Sweeney and Blakeman voted against — Ambrosino would be barred from working for the town or running for re-election if he is convicted of the felony charges. The law prohibits town employees and candidates convicted of felonies from service.

On Tuesday before a town board meeting, Ambrosino did not directly address the return of his donation, saying only, “I’m happy to support the supervisor.”

Citizens for Santino also is hosting a fundraiser on Thursday with psychic Robert Hansen at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, according to Hansen’s website. Tickets are $80 a person and Hansen will “share with the audience his psychic gifts of communication with loved ones that have crossed over to the other side.”

“Our campaign hosts a variety of fundraisers throughout the year designed to appeal to the interests of the broadest range of supporters,” Coleman said.

Citizens for Santino has raised more than $920,000 so far this year, state campaign finance records show. He is running against Democratic candidate Laura Gillen in November.

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