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Source: Payroll records of ex-Babylon IDA chief subpoenaed

Robert Stricoff, former chief executive of the Babylon

Robert Stricoff, former chief executive of the Babylon IDA, sits inside the Courtyard Marriot in East Farmingdale, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

Suffolk prosecutors have subpoenaed payroll records of Robert Stricoff, the ex-Babylon Industrial Development Agency chief executive, and records of his golf play at a private Bay Shore country club where he is a member.

Prosecutors took five years of payroll records related to Stricoff's former $130,000-a-year IDA job, according to IDA officials. It was unclear if the records detail specific hours that Stricoff, who also served as Babylon Democratic chairman, worked.

The subpoenas, issued in the past two weeks, stem from an investigation begun in September by Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota. He launched the probe after Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer turned over a party audit that, according to sources, showed Stricoff was paid as much as $120,000 in unauthorized salary increases and benefits as town party leader.

Party sources say interviews were done last month with members of the town Democratic executive committee, which must approve party expenditures such as Stricoff's salary and benefits. Bob Clifford, a Spota spokesman, declined to comment.

Stricoff's attorney, John Carman, said his client has done nothing wrong and expressed confidence he will be cleared when the investigation is concluded.

"During Bob's tenure as head of the Babylon IDA, the agency and the town benefitted from his many strong relationships with business and community leaders," Carman said. "And, yes, he did play golf with some of them."

Carman said Southward Ho Country Club had received a subpoena for records of Stricoff's golf play. Paul O'Donoghue, Southward Ho's general manager, declined to comment, saying that to protect the privacy of its members the club "never divulges information."

The club's course was designed by A.W. Tillinghast, who did the famed championship courses Winged Foot in Mamaroneck and Baltusrol in Springfield, New Jersey.

In charges filed recently against Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh, federal prosecutors allege that Walsh, a Suffolk corrections lieutenant, played golf and gambled when he was supposed to have been working at the county jail.

Babylon IDA chairman Patrick Halpin, a former Suffolk County executive, said Stricoff's job seeking new IDA business could have legitimately included playing golf with potential clients. "That's part of the job," Halpin said. "Bob Stricoff generated a lot of business for the IDA. The IDA had very aggressive policies, and Bobby hustled."

Halpin said IDA records show no expenses related to Stricoff's membership at Southward Ho or money spent on guests he may have taken there. But the town party's 27-day postelection campaign finance report in 2013 shows that Stricoff was reimbursed $898.31 for an expense at Southward Ho associated with a "fundraiser."

One club member familiar with club policies said the club keeps a record of each member's play as well as that of guests, bills costs monthly and as a private club does not take corporate funds, only members' personal checks.

Stricoff has said that during his tenure at the Babylon IDA he closed deals totaling $880 million, which he said created 5,200 jobs and retained 5,300 others.

Stricoff isa boyhood friend and close political ally of County Executive Steve Bellone. Last year, Stricoff was offered the $155,000 a year job as executive director of the Suffolk County IDA, but delayed taking the post after the investigation arose. He later withdrew his name and now works as a vice president for sales and business development at EAM Land Services/American Land Services in Syosset.


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