COLONIE, N.Y. -- Aides to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli are crying foul over the state Independence Party’s backing of Republican challenger Harry Wilson.
The aides, who requested anonymity, charged that Wilson’s hiring of Anthony Manetta, a party member and political consultant in Bay Shore, influenced the endorsement.
But state Independence Party chief Frank MacKay denied there was a quid pro quo. He said the party has supported many opponents of candidates who hired Manetta to work for them.
“That’s a red herring…There is no possible way to justify not endorsing Harry Wilson for comptroller. He’s the most qualified.” MacKay said.
Manetta didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. He joined the Independence Party in late 2007, once served as vice chairman of the Suffolk organization, also led by MacKay, and has held fundraisers for the party.
Wilson spokesman Bill O’Reilly said Manetta was hired to help the campaign on Long Island, DiNapoli’s political base.
DiNapoli, a Democrat, had for years run for the Assembly with Independence support. The party also backed his failed 2001 bid for Nassau County executive.