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James Coll seeks Madeline Singas probe in legislature race

NYPD Det. James Coll, shown July 21, 2017,

NYPD Det. James Coll, shown July 21, 2017, was seeking to challenge John R. Ferretti Jr., the Nassau GOP's choice for the county legislature's 15th District, in the Sept. 12 primary. Photo Credit: James Escher

An NYPD detective seeking to run a Republican primary for the Nassau County Legislature has asked the district attorney to investigate whether his opponent used his county clerk’s position for “political operation and campaigning.”

James Coll — who is appealing a judge’s ruling that disqualified him from Tuesday’s primary ballot — would face Chief Deputy County Clerk John Ferretti Jr., the county GOP’s nominee for the open 15th Legislative District seat.

In a letter to Singas this week, Coll said subordinates of Ferretti in the clerk’s office may have been making campaign-related social media posts and filing objections to Coll’s ballot petitions on county time.

Coll, of Seaford, also asked Singas, a Democrat, to probe whether John Fochtman, the clerk’s employee who filed the objections and a lawsuit challenging Coll’s petitions, “was pressured to file” the actions “as a subordinate employee of Mr. Ferretti’s.” Coll provided no evidence.

“While the First Amendment protects political speech and back-and-forth are expected in any campaign, the District Attorney’s Public Corruption Bureau also has an interest in protecting the right to run for public office without a concerted effort originating out of an office that I and other taxpayers fund,” Coll wrote.

Brendan Brosh, a Singas spokesman, said Thursday that the district attorney’s office would review Coll’s letter.

Ferretti, of Levittown, denied the charges, calling them “the pathetic, futile attempts of a desperate candidate to smear the reputations of public servants.”

He noted that Coll has not filed any public campaign finance reports with the state Board of Elections, despite having an apparent campaign operation including a website and in-kind contributions for his appeal from an attorney, Jonathan Clarke. Clarke is running as an independent for Oyster Bay Town supervisor.

“I find it outrageous that this desperate candidate is making criminal allegations, which are baseless and without an iota of evidence,” Ferretti said of Coll. “It’s really irresponsible.”

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle, a Republican, on Aug. 14, disqualified Coll from challenging Ferretti for the Levittown-based 15th District seat, citing a petition error in which the candidate used the word “Legislature” instead of “Legislator.”

Coll’s court appeal is expected to be heard Monday.

Ferretti, the great nephew of Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello, was nominated to succeed Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) in the 15th District, after Dunne was appointed to the Hempstead Town board.

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