As scandal enveloped the Republican-controlled Town of Oyster Bay over recent months, Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello began searching for ways to best deal with it, including some out-of-the-box proposals.
Republican insiders say Mondello even reached out to former Democratic Oyster Bay Supervisor Lewis Yevoli, asking him to consider an interim return to his former job if current Republican Supervisor John Venditto should step down.
Last year, town Planning Commissioner Fred Ippolito was charged with federal tax evasion for failing to report $2 million in payments from a town vendor he had worked for. Then the town’s beach concessionaire, Harendra Singh, was indicted on multiple felony counts — including bribing a town official to obtain millions of dollars in town-backed loan guarantees.
While Singh’s case remains open, a federal judge this week refused to accept a sentencing deal for Ippolito, who had pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. “There is something rotten in the town of Oyster Bay,” U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler said in open court.
Mondello and Yevoli served together on the now-defunct Nassau Board of Supervisors. Yevoli voted with the board’s Republican supervisors in 1992 to approve a contentious county budget after Mondello persuaded Yevoli that his vote would be in the best interests of the county. If Yevoli had voted with the two Democratic supervisors — Bruce Nyman of Long Beach and Ben Zwirn of North Hempstead — they would have been able to block approval of the 1993 budget and force change in county spending, according to Nyman and Zwirn.
A spokesman for Mondello said Friday that the chairman was traveling to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and was unavailable for comment.
Yevoli responded in a voice mail message to a Newsday query asking if Republicans had approached him for supervisor. “I’m flattered by the rumor, but John Venditto is the supervisor and I don’t know that he has any plans to do anything other than stay as supervisor. So at this point, it’s a flattering rumor and a creative thought but that’s all I can say about it,” Yevoli said.