Hempstead’s court fight with Nassau County to recover $30 million in tax refunds paid by the town to utility companies puts Edward Ambrosino right in the middle of the dispute.
Ambrosino is a $71,000-a-year town board member, who was named by Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino as his deputy supervisor this year.
Ambrosino also is general counsel to the county Industrial Development Agency, earning $1.5 million in fees from 2010 through early this year, records show. He was paid another $100,000 for serving as counsel to county Executive Edward Mangano in 2012 and 2013.
Ambrosino currently is “of counsel” to Mangano’s former law firm, Rivkin Radler, which is representing the county in the Hempstead lawsuit. The county legislature has agreed so far to pay Rivkin Radler $3.35 million to challenge court decisions that found the county must reimburse tax refunds paid by Nassau’s towns to utility companies because of erroneous property tax assessments.
So which side is Ambrosino on? His constituents’? Or his employer?
Ambrosino said through a spokesman, “It is my understanding the county and the town are working to amicably resolve this issue. I support whatever means are necessary to resolve the matter.”
But Dean Hart, a Democrat candidate for state Assembly who started a good government group last year, said, “Councilman Ambrosino’s shameful attempt to play both sides against the middle is just another glaring example of why Nassau County is on the brink of a financial meltdown. If taxpayers need to ask simple questions like, ‘Who does my local representative really represent?’ then there is little hope for either Nassau County or the Town of Hempstead.”
Ambrosino responded, “I am a Town of Hempstead elected official and I support whatever resolution is in the best interests of the taxpayers of my district.”