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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Nassau Conservatives: Local patronage fears, or new alignment?

As noted in this space previously, Frank Scaturro, a Hofstra law professor, claims he has wrongfully been denied a chance to wage a Conservative primary fight against Legis. Francis J. Becker Jr. (R-Lynbrook). The two are competing to run against Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in November. Scaturro says the county party's executive committee even voted 10-9 in late June to authorize his candidacy, but that it was improperly rescinded.

The most intriguing aspect of Scaturro's lawsuit may be the sworn testimony from Frank Russo, executive committee member, that other panel members feared losing their local-government jobs if they openly helped Scaturro against Becker.

"This is an awkward thing for me to say, but it's the truth," Russo testified. "If we had a secret ballot, that vote would have been better than 10-9 in favor of granting the Wilson Pakula" - the authorization to run that Scaturro seeks.

Russo, a co-plaintiff, portrayed Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello, who favors Becker, as calling the third-party's shots through leader Daniel Donovan, who's since become Nassau's Conservative chairman. "I believe I was told by members of the committee - I'm not going to say which ones, because I'm not certain which ones - indicated that Mr. Mondello did not want to grant Mr. Scaturro the Wilson Pakula and so directed Mr. Donovan," Russo says in his transcribed testimony of July 26. "I heard that from many members."

State Supreme Court Justice Dana F. Winslow, sustaining an objection, said the claim about Mondello's manipulations was "not sufficiently reliable" to be considered "because there is no indication as to who it (the source of the allegation) might be."

Mondello spokesman Anthony Santino replied Friday: "Chairman Mondello does not get involved in the inner workings of minor parties. Period."

Any GOP-Conservative collaboration qualifies as a new trend in Nassau, given that former Nassau chairman Roger Bogsted struggled with those who criticized his Democratic ties.


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