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Foe blasts non-profit's honoring Bellone days before election

Laura Ahearn is executive director of the non-profit

Laura Ahearn is executive director of the non-profit organization honoring Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone on Thursday, prompting criticism from Bellone's election challenger James O'Connor. Credit: Audrey C. Tiernan

The nonprofit organization called Parents for Megan’s Law and The Crime Victims Center is honoring County Executive Steve Bellone with its Champion For Children Award at its annual fundraiser on Thursday, five days before Election Day.

The invitation describes the county executive as “one of our most ardent supporters” whose “vision and leadership” led to legislation for “the nation’s most comprehensive sex offender management plan” and technology that speeds up delivery of victim services.

The fundraiser, where ticket prices range from $300 to $10,000, is scheduled for the West Lake Inn in Patchogue.

Republican County Executive candidate James O’Connor criticized the center, which has a $3 million in county contracts and has produced public service announcements that feature Bellone.

“This kind of ‘pay to play’ nonsense," O'Connor said, "is improper, inappropriate and elected officials should be expected to behave better. The Suffolk County taxpayer should be outraged.”

Laura Ahearn, the center’s executive director, said there is no politics involved and the fundraiser was scheduled by an outside event planner based on “our agency’s work schedule, avoiding conflicts with other domestic violence events held in October and missing the holiday rush in November and December.”

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