As rumors swirled around Nassau government about ongoing federal and local criminal investigations, Nassau Republicans had a near full house Thursday evening at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho for the county GOP's annual "Nassau County Salute."
GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello was there along with Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, who is running for district attorney this fall, Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and his son, state Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), Hempstead Town Board member Anthony Santino, who is running for town supervisor this fall, state Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), assorted assemblymen and Nassau Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow).
Also in attendence were County Executive Edward Mangano and his Chief Deputy Rob Walker, who has been noticeably absent from recent Republican events.
Mangano seemed to make a point during his speech to knock down any speculation about his future by saying, "I'm going to be county executive for a long time," or words to that effect, according to several Republicans who were there.
One Republican committeeman said it was as though both Mangano and Walker wanted to stop the gossip, adding that seeing "the two of them walk in was confirmation that these two have heard the same rumors that we have heard that the two of them are leaving," he said.
One official absent from the event was state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who has been charged by federal prosecutors with illegally influencing the county's award of a $12 million contract to Ab-Tech Inc., a company that employed his son. Skelos and his son have pleaded not guilty.
Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas subsquently launched investigations into several contracts while federal investigators have continued to make inquires about Ab-Tech and other contracts.