Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly's office is investigating the actions of the man hired to oversee contracts in the town of Oyster Bay, Inspector General Brian Noone, after the town board tabled a contract he purchased with a company tied to his private business. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports. Credit: Anthony Florio

Nassau County prosecutors have launched an investigation following a town ethics board probe related to Oyster Bay Inspector General Brian Noone's approval of a proposed $2 million cybersecurity contract for a vendor that records show is tied to his private business. 

“We’re looking into the matter. Must otherwise decline comment," Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly, said in a statement Tuesday evening.

He declined to comment further Wednesday. 

Town officials confirmed they have turned over materials to prosecutors.

Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said Tuesday evening that town officials were "already in communication with the district attorney’s office" and "provided them with materials related to this matter."

On Wednesday, he added that town officials "have been in communication with the district attorney's office for several weeks" and Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino's administration will "do everything necessary to safeguard our town taxpayers and integrity."

The initial statements followed Newsday's inquiry Tuesday about plans by a coalition of Democrats to weigh in Wednesday on the matter involving Noone. His 2019 appointment to oversee Oyster Bay contracts followed a bribery scandal that sent former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, and his wife, Linda, to prison.

In a letter to Donnelly, the Democrats on Wednesday said "an independent and impartial investigation is crucial to ensure transparency, accountability, and the fair administration of justice."

The group who signed the letter, including Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) and Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), said they had "serious concerns" about Noone's "integrity and independence" after a Newsday investigation last week showed Noone "approved a $2 million contract with a company to which he has a known connection."

The Democrats, who included others who plan to challenge Republican town board members for their seats, also said the town's ethics board had failed "to uphold its duties and propose immediate actions."

Attorney Jared Behr, the Democrats' pick to challenge Saladino in November, called for Noone's firing and read portions of the letter at a news conference in front of town hall.

"Inspector General Brian Noone holds a critical role in safeguarding the assignment of town contracts, ensuring transparency, and upholding the highest ethical standard and his recent actions violate the principles essential to his position," the letter also said. 

Behr also called for the town to end its relationship with Oyster Bay ethics board lawyer Steven Leventhal. Leventhal did the agency's probe into Noone and said last week that it was sparked by a complaint from a member of the public.

Leventhal also said last week he had cleared Noone of any potential conflicts of interest — a finding Democrats reacted to Wednesday by accusing him of "political manipulation" and an undermining of the ethics review process.

"If the approval of a $2 million dollar cybersecurity contract … from the inspector general to a company with which he has, or has had business connections with, if that is acceptable, it begs the question as to what would be unacceptable or what would actually violate the town's ethics code?" Behr said Wednesday.

He and the other Democrats also called for the current ethics board to be disbanded and for new appointments to be made.

Nevin defended the composition of the ethics board. 

"It’s comprised of professionals," Nevin said. "It’s not comprised of political hacks."

Leventhal in an email Wednesday said the ethics board is made up of a group of dedicated, bipartisan professionals who foster integrity in town government.

"The Board of Ethics does not involve itself in political debate," he said.

Noone didn't return messages seeking comment.

"Having an inspector that you can't trust and rely on to be not only thorough and secure but honest is worse than not having an inspector general," DeRiggi-Whitton said at the news conference. 

Nevin said Wednesday that the town board is considering all options when it comes to Noone, but that as an appointed official, he can't be simply fired.

"The removal process is a court process," Nevin added. "It would require the town to go court. Obviously the town board has to make a decision."

Noone has been relieved of his regular duties overseeing the town’s contracting since March 24, when the town attorney and town board referred questions to the ethics board about a possible conflict of interest between the inspector general and a town vendor, Newsday reported last week.

Noone continues to collect his $154,000 annual salary while retired State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti is in charge of Noone's contract-related duties while earning $75 an hour, according to town officials.

Noone came under scrutiny after signing off on the $2 million contract proposal for cybersecurity with a New Jersey-based company called Enterprise Security Solutions — a measure town legislators tabled March 21.

The company’s owner, Michael Esposito, is listed on the website of Noone’s private company, Nova Venture Partners, as its cybersecurity practice leader.

Esposito’s company had an existing $15,000 contract with the town that officials terminated March 28, citing an alleged breach of confidentiality.

Nassau County prosecutors have launched an investigation following a town ethics board probe related to Oyster Bay Inspector General Brian Noone's approval of a proposed $2 million cybersecurity contract for a vendor that records show is tied to his private business. 

“We’re looking into the matter. Must otherwise decline comment," Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly, said in a statement Tuesday evening.

He declined to comment further Wednesday. 

Town officials confirmed they have turned over materials to prosecutors.

Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said Tuesday evening that town officials were "already in communication with the district attorney’s office" and "provided them with materials related to this matter."

On Wednesday, he added that town officials "have been in communication with the district attorney's office for several weeks" and Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino's administration will "do everything necessary to safeguard our town taxpayers and integrity."

The initial statements followed Newsday's inquiry Tuesday about plans by a coalition of Democrats to weigh in Wednesday on the matter involving Noone. His 2019 appointment to oversee Oyster Bay contracts followed a bribery scandal that sent former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, and his wife, Linda, to prison.

In a letter to Donnelly, the Democrats on Wednesday said "an independent and impartial investigation is crucial to ensure transparency, accountability, and the fair administration of justice."

The group who signed the letter, including Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) and Nassau County Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), said they had "serious concerns" about Noone's "integrity and independence" after a Newsday investigation last week showed Noone "approved a $2 million contract with a company to which he has a known connection."

The Democrats, who included others who plan to challenge Republican town board members for their seats, also said the town's ethics board had failed "to uphold its duties and propose immediate actions."

Attorney Jared Behr, the Democrats' pick to challenge Saladino in November, called for Noone's firing and read portions of the letter at a news conference in front of town hall.

"Inspector General Brian Noone holds a critical role in safeguarding the assignment of town contracts, ensuring transparency, and upholding the highest ethical standard and his recent actions violate the principles essential to his position," the letter also said. 

Behr also called for the town to end its relationship with Oyster Bay ethics board lawyer Steven Leventhal. Leventhal did the agency's probe into Noone and said last week that it was sparked by a complaint from a member of the public.

Leventhal also said last week he had cleared Noone of any potential conflicts of interest — a finding Democrats reacted to Wednesday by accusing him of "political manipulation" and an undermining of the ethics review process.

"If the approval of a $2 million dollar cybersecurity contract … from the inspector general to a company with which he has, or has had business connections with, if that is acceptable, it begs the question as to what would be unacceptable or what would actually violate the town's ethics code?" Behr said Wednesday.

He and the other Democrats also called for the current ethics board to be disbanded and for new appointments to be made.

Nevin defended the composition of the ethics board. 

"It’s comprised of professionals," Nevin said. "It’s not comprised of political hacks."

Leventhal in an email Wednesday said the ethics board is made up of a group of dedicated, bipartisan professionals who foster integrity in town government.

"The Board of Ethics does not involve itself in political debate," he said.

Noone didn't return messages seeking comment.

"Having an inspector that you can't trust and rely on to be not only thorough and secure but honest is worse than not having an inspector general," DeRiggi-Whitton said at the news conference. 

Nevin said Wednesday that the town board is considering all options when it comes to Noone, but that as an appointed official, he can't be simply fired.

"The removal process is a court process," Nevin added. "It would require the town to go court. Obviously the town board has to make a decision."

Noone has been relieved of his regular duties overseeing the town’s contracting since March 24, when the town attorney and town board referred questions to the ethics board about a possible conflict of interest between the inspector general and a town vendor, Newsday reported last week.

Noone continues to collect his $154,000 annual salary while retired State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti is in charge of Noone's contract-related duties while earning $75 an hour, according to town officials.

Noone came under scrutiny after signing off on the $2 million contract proposal for cybersecurity with a New Jersey-based company called Enterprise Security Solutions — a measure town legislators tabled March 21.

The company’s owner, Michael Esposito, is listed on the website of Noone’s private company, Nova Venture Partners, as its cybersecurity practice leader.

Esposito’s company had an existing $15,000 contract with the town that officials terminated March 28, citing an alleged breach of confidentiality.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Nassau prosecutors are probing a matter involving Oyster Bay Inspector General Brian Noone
  • Noone was appointed in 2019 to provide oversight of town contracts after a bribery scandal
  • Noone approved a proposed $2 million cybersecurity contract for a vendor that records show is tied to his private company
  • A coalition of Democrats have called for Noone's firing and for the town's ethics board, which cleared Noone of any potential conflicts of interest, to be disbanded
  • A town spokesman said Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino's administration will "do everything necessary to safeguard our town taxpayers and integrity"
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