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Suffolk Republicans want The South Shore Press as official newspaper

Tom Cilmi, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk County

Tom Cilmi, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk County Legislature District 10, poses for a portrait at the party's countywide political convention held at the Portuguese American Center in Farmingville on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. -- slVOTE -- Credit: James Escher

Suffolk Republicans want to install The South Shore Press as their official newspaper for county legal ads for the last three months of 2019 and dump the Village Times Herald, based in East Setauket.

The resolution sponsored by Legis. Tom Cilmi, GOP caucus leader, would give the Mastic Beach-based weekly, formerly run by ex-Suffolk Legis. Fred Towle, the legal ads from Oct. 19 to Dec. 31. Extensive annual tax lien legal notices appear during that period.

Towle, who GOP officials say has retired from The South Shore Press, resigned from the legislature in 2003 and spent six months in prison for accepting more than $10,000 in bribes. Last year, Towle pleaded guilty to one count of filing false income tax returns.

In January, GOP county lawmakers chose the Village Times Herald and the Smithtown Messenger as their official county newspapers, with the Messenger getting the designation for the first part of the year. Democrats named the Suffolk County News.

Under state law, both major parties recommend official newspapers for legal ads that in Suffolk total about $400,000 annually.

John Jay LaValle was Suffolk GOP chairman when the newspapers were chosen.

Jesse Garcia, the new Suffolk GOP chairman, said the move returns the party to use of official newspapers the party had used in the past. “It was a reset for the rest of the year and next year we will move forward,” he said.

Village Times Herald officials did not return calls for comment.

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