Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini’s campaign has raised $1.03 million, a county record for a district attorney’s race, and has spent $879,833, leaving him with $153,882 for the campaign’s closing days, campaign finance reports show.
His Republican opponent, Ray Perini, has raised $366,795 and spent $235,569. Last week, Perini loaned his campaign $50,000, leaving him with $131,226 in cash on hand to make his closing argument to voters.
The candidates’ 11-day pre-election campaign finance reports show that Sini, who also has the backing of the Conservative, Independence and Working Families Parties, spent $454,382 over the past two weeks, compared with $120,099 for Perini.
Suffolk Democrats also spent $19,669 on Sini. During the period covered by the report, Sini raised $303,374, while Perini raised $104,730, including the loan to his campaign.
“The campaign’s fundraising is another indicator that voters believe Tim is the only option to bring integrity back to the DA’s office,” said Justin Myers, Sini campaign spokesman.
“Perini will simply continue the office’s corrupt practices,” said Myers, referring to criticism that Perini used improper wire taps as a former Suffolk prosecutor and as a defense attorney rented a partyboat from a DA bureau chief.
Perini says the boat rental posed no ethical problems. Perini said the wiretap allegations came from a rogue cop seeking retribution, and that he was never charged.
“We have a grass roots campaign, not money from out of state and New York City,” said Perini. “We have 705 donors. . . . Sini has 540, and yet he’s raised four times the money,” noting 21 Sini donors gave $10,000 or more.
He said Sini’s filing shows Democrats “are trying to buy the DA’s office just like they bought the Conservative and Independence Party lines for Sini with backroom deals for judgeships and jobs.”
Sini’s fundraising is nearly double that of the last contested Suffolk DA race in 2001, when winner Thomas Spota and county Democrats raised a total of $551,247, while incumbent GOP District Attorney James M. Catterson Jr. and Republicans took in $510,069.
In that race, Spota’s campaign itself raised only $287,247, while Catterson raised $308,967. After Spota’s first win, he was cross-endorsed by major and minor parties in his next three terms and had no competitive contests, making fundraising unimportant.
The 2015 Nassau district attorney race cost even more: Winner Madeline Singas, a Democrat, spent $1.54 million in a primary and general election, while the Republican candidate, former Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, spent $1.77 million.
Sini’s biggest donors in the latest report include Herbert Allen III, head of Allen & Co., who gave $33,349. Heartland developer Jerry Wolkoff, recycler Kevin Gershowitz, developer Russell C. Albanese of Oyster Bay and Chester Broman, CEO of Farmingdale Sand Corp., each gave $10,000; while Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour gave $1,000.
Perini’s biggest donors included Sag Harbor attorney Edward Burke Jr., who gave $6,000; Jet Sanitation Service Corp. in Islandia, $5,000; Harry Janson of East Setauket, $2,500; and Manhattan defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, who contributed $1,000.
Meanwhile, county sheriff candidate Larry Zacarese, who spent $193,244 to win the GOP primary, spent $38,384 in the past two weeks while bringing in $47,180 in new donations. He had $47,182 on hand for the campaign’s final days. Zacarese’s biggest donors in the latest filing were supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis and his wife, who each gave $10,000.
Democratic sheriff’s candidate Errol Toulon Jr., New York City’s former deputy correction commissioner, who only entered the contest last month, has raised $43,831 and spent $25,189, campaign reports showed. That left $19,141 for the campaign’s final week.
Toulon’s biggest donors included physician Jeffrey Vacirca, who gave $10,000, and North Eastern Bus Rebuilders in Ronkonkoma, $5,000.
The filing also showed the Suffolk Democratic Committee has spent $45,686 on Toulon’s race.
The party also has received $200,000 in loans, which chairman Richard Schaffer said will be earmarked for Toulon’s campaign.
Loans of $50,000 came from Ronald Kluesener, Babylon Town chief of staff, and Peter Russo, a plumber and close Schaffer friend. Anita Katz, Suffolk’s Democratic elections commissioner, and John Braslow, a former Babylon Democratic chairman who shares law offices with Schaffer, each loaned $25,000.
Schaffer said that since the filing, Andrea Wexler, the wife of William Wexler, a Babylon Town and Suffolk Industrial Development Agency lawyer, has loaned the Democrats $50,000 for Toulon.
NOTE: An earlier online version had slightly incorrect amounts in the cash raised and spent by Perini.