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Laura Curran’s donors include tax grievance firms

Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran, who is seeking

Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Nassau County executive, shares some of the same donors as County Executive Edward Mangano. Sept. 30, 2015 Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Democrat Laura Curran has characterized her campaign for Nassau County executive as a “fresh start” from the tenure of Republican incumbent Edward Mangano, but the two share a common group of prominent campaign donors: the owners of property tax grievance firms.

In her first campaign finance filing, covering July 12 to Jan. 13, two of Curran’s largest individual donations were $2,500 from Sean Acosta, who runs Property Tax Reduction Consultants in Jericho, and $2,500 from Shalom Maidenbaum, who owns three local tax grievance companies.

Acosta and Maidenbaum, and their spouses, have given Mangano a total of $180,000 since he took office in 2010, state campaign finance records show. Mangano has settled tax grievance cases at a much higher level than the previous administration, Newsday has reported.

Curran also received $5,000 from Donald Leistman, a commercial tax attorney who has not been a major Mangano donor.

The contributions to Curran, a county legislator from Baldwin, helped her raise more than $200,000 during the six-month filing period, topping the field of Democrats who are vying for the party’s nomination for county executive.

“Fresh start? She starts off the campaign taking money from Mangano’s biggest contributors,” said Hank Sheinkopf, who is running the county executive campaign of George Maragos, the county comptroller who switched from Republican to Democrat last year.

Maragos, however, received nearly $9,000 in contributions to his comptroller campaign between 2011 and 2014 from the Committee for Fair Property Taxes, a political action committee formed by the county’s largest tax representation firms. That committee, which has been heavily funded by Acosta, Maidenbaum and others in the industry, has contributed $56,000 to Mangano’s campaign since he took office, records show.

Isaac Goldberg, Curran’s campaign manager, said the contributions from tax grievance firm operators did nothing to tie Curran to Mangano, who is facing federal corruption charges and has pleaded not guilty.

“George Maragos has spent his entire career fighting against core Democratic values and now he’s trying to personally buy a Democratic primary, so it’s really no surprise he’s making outlandish claims that he knows aren’t true,” Goldberg said.

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