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David Denenberg declines to take potshots at Dean or Adam Skelos during interview

Former Nassau Legis. David Denenberg on June 5,

Former Nassau Legis. David Denenberg on June 5, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

Former Nassau Democratic legislator David Denenberg taped his first radio interview Thursday after serving three months in federal prison for overbilling a private legal client.

But despite radio host Dean Hart’s attempts to get Denenberg to criticize former State Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos and son Adam, both convicted on federal corruption charges last month, the former legislator from Merrick wouldn’t take the bait.

Denenberg repeatedly said he would not name names or talk about any specific person.

When Hart, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for county legislature who now heads a good government group, suggested that Dean Skelos had seemed to spearhead the effort “to get you into trouble” during Denenberg’s aborted campaign for State Senate, Denenberg said, “I will not talk about any individual . . . I made mistakes. I apologize.”

He added, “I was not involved in any public corruption.”

Denenberg also declined to elaborate when Hart noted that his former law firm, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, had provided “one of Adam Skelos’ no show jobs.”

Denenberg was favored to win a race for the South Shore State Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Charles Fuschillo when the law firm, which fired Denenberg in June 2014, filed suit against him two months before the election, contending he had overbilled a client by more than $2 million. The law firm had close ties to Skelos, who was fighting to keep a Republican Senate majority, and had employed Adam Skelos.

Denenberg pleaded guilty to mail fraud after making restitution and was sentenced to three months in prison and three months home detention He was released from prison shortly before Thanksgiving.

Two weeks later, Skelos and his son were convicted of extortion, conspiracy and bribery in connection with pressuring companies to hire Adam in exchange for favorable legislation and for influencing a $12 million Nassau County contract that was eventually awarded to a firm that hired Adam Skelos. Dean Skelos also was expelled from the Senate.

Denenberg declined to take any potshots at the father or son.

“Having been the subject of so many personal attacks as part of my 2014 Senate run, before and after the overbilling, I will never personally attack anyone . . . even those who attack me,” Denenberg said after the interview.

Though on home detention, Denenberg said he is allowed to go to work and do business. Though he lost his law license on conviction, he pointed out several times during the radio show that he is now president of the Cobra Consulting Group, helping property owners file tax challenges and consulting on environmental engineering and “intellectual property” issues.

Hart said he invited Denenberg to his show because “he was a damn good legislator. He was senatorial timbre. Through stupidity, stupid more in his judgment, he committed a crime.”

The show, in which Denenberg talks about his record and Hart emphasizes the need for transparency in government, airs on WHLI 1100 AM on Sunday at 8 a.m.

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