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Maragos prompts speculation by loaning campaign committee $1M

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos, reportedly mulling a run for county executive in 2017, raised more than a few eyebrows on Thursday as new state campaign filings show he lent his campaign committee $1 million.

But questions remain whether Maragos, a Republican who is serving his second term as comptroller, is serious about a run for higher office — and which party’s nomination he could potentially seek.

Maragos’ July campaign filing shows a $1 million loan to his comptroller account, which now has a balance of $1,024,278. His filings show no fundraising activity and minimal campaign spending.

A spokeswoman for the comptroller said Maragos, who is out of the country, was unavailable for comment.

Maragos, who has fallen out of favor with Nassau Republicans in recent years after releasing several audits critical of the GOP administration, is not expected to be nominated for a third term as comptroller, sources said.

Others in the party have been privately critical of Maragos for mounting two unsuccessful runs for U.S. Senate and for forcing out several party loyalists who worked in his office.

A GOP party source Thursday said Maragos would likely tap the $1 million loan only if Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano decides against running for a third term. Mangano has said he will not announce his intentions until early 2017.

In 2009, Maragos, who formed a successful financial technology firm before entering politics, lent his comptroller campaign $200,000 but eventually was refunded $42,788, records show. He loaned his 2013 re-election committee $1,001,000, but later was refunded $984,000.

In 2012, Maragos, competing in a crowded GOP primary to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, loaned his campaign nearly $2 million but eventually was repaid $1.84 million, records show.

In a statement regarding the 2017 county executive race, Nassau GOP Party Chairman Joe Mondello said “a year is a very long time in politics and right now I am concentrating on winning the elections that are taking place in November.”

Earlier this year, Maragos met with Nassau Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs about the possibly of running for county executive as a Democrat, sources told Newsday in May.

Jacobs on Thursday said, “A million dollar loan is a serious amount of money and nobody does that without having something in mind. As a twice elected comptroller, he is definitely a formidable contender for any number of possibilities. As Democratic chairman I am keeping an open mind.”

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