Spin Cycle

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Spokesmen for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Looks Great Services, a Huntington tree removal firm, are suggesting that Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs is a hypocrite for demanding Wednesday that Republican Mangano to return about $75,000 in contributions from eight Superstorm Sandy contractors, including Looks Great.

“The facts remain that the Democrats accepted nearly the same level of contributions from these companies and even selected Looks Great as a vendor for Nassau County,” said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin. "Contributions accepted from these very same companies include $34,000 by (former Democratic County Executive) Tom Suozzi and $15,000 accepted by Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Democratic Committee. Even political boss Jay Jacobs accepted thousands of dollars from one of these contractors.”

Looks Great spokesman Dave Arnold said, “Maybe Mr. Jacobs should tell Nassau office holders to return contributions from the unions whose financial interests they’re clearly putting ahead of taxpayers.”

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The state attorney general and Nassau district attorney are investigating how the county awarded $151 million in emergency contracts to clean up after Sandy and whether the work billed was performed. Looks Great is to receive $68.8 million for tree removal and debris hauling. Complaints about a Looks Great crew cutting trees in the Welwyn Preserve a month after Sandy helped prompt the investigations as did union questions about out-of-state workers being paid at less than Long Island’s usual wage scale.

Mangano is running for re-election this fall and Suozzi is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge him. Businessman Adam Haber also is seeking Democratic support to run for county executive.

“Jay Jacobs' mudslinging tactics reflect his dire efforts to put Tom Suozzi back in office and win back his aibility to run for-profit camps on Nassau County property,” Nevin said. “Jay, wake up, these sleazy tactics won’t fool residents into putting High-Tax Tom Suozzi back in office.”

Jacobs responded, “While Nassau residents were struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Sandy, Ed Mangano was using an emergency to dole out no-bid contracts to his friends and they returned the favor with generous campaign contributions. Mangano has run this county into the ground because he has no plan to fix the finances except to borrow a billion dollars and by giving money to his powerful friends and family members."

Jacobs, who runs private summer camps, added that Nevin was wrong about his camps. "I have never run, asked to run, had an interest in or had any involvement in any camp on public property, in Nassau County or any county in the United States of America."

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He added, "Mr. Nevin. I do run a camp in Nassau County on property I actually own and pay way too high in property taxes because they can’t get the assessment system straight. Whatever he’s talking about doesn’t have anything to do with me."