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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Nassau OTB meeting place remains a mystery

There still is no public indication of where the new Republican-appointed members of Nassau’s Off-Track Betting corporation met to appoint Joseph Cairo, longtime GOP North Valley Stream leader, president of the gambling agency.

The three had signed a letter dated March 1 and hand-delivered it to the current Democratic OTB counsel, saying: “Pleased be advised that at a meeting of the appointed Board of Directors of the Nassau Regional Off-track Betting Corporation held today, the Board voted to appoint Joseph G. Cairo, Jr. as president, effective immediately.” But it didn't say where they met.

Cairo, an attorney, was disbarred in 1994 and reinstated to the bar in 2007.

A Schenectady judge on Thursday issued a restraining order preventing the three from taking any action as a board until their appointments are approved by the state Racing and Wagering Board, which is based in Schenectady. The Republican majority on the county legislature had appointed the new three-member board in January.

Newsday last week submitted a Freedom of Information request to the board's “provisional” counsel Christopher Ostuni, asking for the minutes and notice of the meeting.

This week, the board's court attorney,  John Ryan denied Newsday’s  request. He wrote:

“As counsel to Joseph Bentivegna, Frank Destefano and Eric Harkin, your e-mail request under the Freedom of Information Law has been forwarded to me. By order, dated March 4, 2010, the Supreme Court, Schenectady County restrained and enjoined my clients from acting or purporting to act on behalf of the Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, including purporting to terminate and/or appoint any officers or employees. In view of this temporary restraining order, my clients will not respond to your FOIL request.”

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