Call it political double jeopardy.
After acknowledging a mistake, the Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation, funded by police unions, compounded their error over the weekend by sending a second political attack mailing incorrectly using the picture of convicted former Roslyn School Superintendent Frank Tassone rather than the Republican county legislature candidate of the same name.
The second mailing shows a picture of the former school administrator, who was jailed after embezzling $11 million, with question marks superimposed in front of his face, but this time makes no mention of past crimes. Tassone, who spent four years in state prison, is 68.
Candidate Tassone is 44, a Patchogue resident who works for Brookhaven’s waste management division and has no connection to the former school official.
Candidate Tassone said he got a call Saturday afternoon from Noel DiGerolamo, Suffolk Police Benevolent Association president, while knocking on doors. He said the union leader, a board member of the foundation, apologized for the first mailing which was delivered to homes Thursday.
However, Tassone, who learned the second mailing hit Saturday morning, told him, “Obviously you sent out a second piece.” He said DiGerolamo apologized again, but had no explanation why a second piece was sent out.
DiGerolamo said he only learned of the error late Friday afternoon when informed by a Newsday reporter. He said both mailings had been brought to the post office in “close proximity” one day apart. But he said the second mailing was dropped off before he learned of the mistake and the foundation “had no way of stopping the U.S. Postal Service from making their deliveries.”
He said the work was done by an independent contractor and maintained “nothing was done intentionally” and that “safeguards will be put in place to make sure it will never happen again.” He also criticized Republicans for attacks that “fabricate” the salary costs.
John Jay LaValle, Suffolk Republican chairman, warned that the foundation may be legally liable for their blatant error. ”I believe this is actionable,” said LaValle. “It crosses a major line.”