Though drowned out by applause and cheering led by his wife, Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano told GOP legislators and everyone else at his state of the county speech this week that he wasn’t going to resign — a little more than an hour before Republican lawmakers formally asked him to step down.
It came when Mangano, who is fighting federal corruption charges, made a joke about bringing the headquarters for Supreme Screw Products Inc. to Nassau.
Listing the companies that have moved their businesses to the county, Mangano said, “Supreme Screw, which is exactly what I’m getting.” He chuckled. “I have a lot of practice in that area.”
Though the remark on Monday appeared to be an ad-lib, Mangano had made the same joke the March 30 real estate summit hosted by the Association for a Better Long Island.
After the state of the county speech quip, Mangano’s wife, Linda, who also is facing federal charges, jumped to her feet from her front-row seat, high-fived the person next to her and began cheering and applauding, according to three people who were there. Supporters seated in the four or five rows behind her, followed, standing up, clapping and cheering.
Their hoots and hollers drowned out the rest of Mangano’s statement: “But I’m still here,” Mangano said, “chugging along, going nowhere.”
Barely an hour before Mangano’s speech was scheduled to start, Republican county lawmakers had issued a news media advisory, saying, “Legislative majority to make an important announcement following the state of the county address.”
It gave no details and GOP spokesmen were unusually tight-lipped. But Democrats assumed Republicans were going to call for Mangano to step down and relayed their thoughts to shocked Mangano staffers minutes before he started to speak.
Sure enough, nine of the 12 Republican lawmakers subsequently called for Mangano to step down because of the charges against him.
Federal prosecutors allege that Mangano traded county work for personal favors from indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh. They also have charged his wife with lying to them about her job with Singh, which paid her a total of $450,000.
Mangano and his wife have pleaded not guilty and have told supporters they will be exonerated. Their trial is scheduled to begin in January, after Mangano’s current term expires at the end of December.
Asked if Mangano’s comment, about not going anywhere, was a response to the unexpected call for his resignation, Mangano said in a statement, “If it holds meaning to someone, they best can explain why.”