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Chair: Suffolk GOP still has $70G from Levy transfer

Chairman of the Republican committee, John Jay LaValle,

Chairman of the Republican committee, John Jay LaValle, on election night in Holtsville. (Nov. 3, 2009) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein, 2009

Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle raised a lot of eyebrows last week when he said the party would set up a “repayment plan” to voluntarily turn over to the district attorney the $100,000 the party had gotten from County Executive Steve Levy just last month.

While the statement seemed to indicate the party had already spent the entire $100,000, LaValle said the local GOP still has more than $70,000 of Levy’s money on hand. He also said he is waiting for repayment of $30,000 advanced to the campaign of Martin Haley, who lost a special election for county legislator last month.

He said the party may use some of the funds until the party’s next fundraiser next May, but expects to turn over the unused portion of Levy’s donation after that event. LaValle said he will make arrangements to return the rest of the money on a payment plan after the campaign season is over. “My priority is to pay it back in a manner that does not put election cycle in any jeopardy," LaValle said.

LaValle emphasized that no one asked the party to return the money, but added, “I just don’t feel comfortable keeping it.”

Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative chairman, joked at his $150 a head fundraiser Thursday night that he would never return money because it is so hard to raise in the first place. “If I ever gave back $100,000 it would come from my cold dead hand,” he said.

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