County Executive Steve Bellone sued the Suffolk County Board of Ethics on Wednesday to force it to release the financial disclosure form of John Scott Prudenti, a district attorney bureau chief who rented his partyboat to criminal defense attorneys with cases before the DA’s office.
Bellone said District Attorney Thomas Spota should have forced Prudenti to release his financial disclosure.
“The public has a right to know what’s in the form,” Bellone said at a news conference in Central Islip, noting that Spota has charged others for failure to list all their businesses on their financial disclosure form.
In a statement, Spota said an appellate court ruling has blocked release of the disclosure. He called Bellone’s lawsuit “grandstanding.”
A year ago this week Bellone stood outside Spota’s office in Hauppauge and called for him to resign.
On Wednesday, Bellone accused the office of more misconduct, pointing to a murder charge that was dismissed mid-trial Tuesday because a prosecutor had failed to turn over evidence to the defense. Spota demanded and received prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock’s resignation Tuesday, and the murder charge against defendant Messiah Booker was dismissed.
Bellone said Spota helped protect former Suffolk police chief of department James Burke and former Conservative Party Chairman Edward Walsh.
“Justice continues to be perverted in this county,” he said.
Spota said in his statement that Bellone has an “obvious personal vendetta against me for doing my job; investigating and/or prosecuting a senior administration official of his after he implored me not to, and more recently his boyhood friend, campaign chair and treasurer Robert Stricoff, again after he asked me not to, undermines the credibility of his slanderous attacks.”
In 2014, Suffolk Information Technologies Commissioner Donald Rogers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to reveal on his county financial disclosure form his ownership of a computing consultant company. That same year Stricoff was accused of campaign finance irregularities as Babylon Democratic leader. Newsday has reported that Spota forwarded that complaint to the state Board of Elections.
Bellone said he has no vendetta. “My only interest here is integrity,” he said.
Spota is up for re-election in November, but has made no announcement about whether he will run.
Dave Besso, an attorney representing Prudenti, said he believed the appellate court order will block Bellone’s legal action.
“Anything they do in regards to Mr. Prudenti’s financial disclosure form has already been ruled upon by the appellate division,” Besso said. He added: “I would hope he’d have other things to do than work on Mr. Prudenti’s financial disclosures.”
Bellone said the appellate division order does not prevent the board of ethics from releasing the form to him.