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Conviction notice allows Hempstead Town Clerk Bonilla's removal

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla leaves Nassau

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla leaves Nassau District Court in Hempstead, after being found guilty of official misconduct. (July 25, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday will send Hempstead Town an official notice of Town Clerk Mark Bonilla's criminal conviction, which will allow the town to remove Bonilla from office, a spokesman for the governor said Wednesday.

Justice Sharon Gianelli found Bonilla guilty of official misconduct on July 25. Bonilla threatened an employee with a job transfer if the employee didn't produce compromising photos of a woman who had filed a sexual harassment complaint against the clerk, prosecutors said.

Bonilla has continued to go to work since his conviction despite calls from Town Supervisor Kate Murray for him to resign. Bonilla has declined to answer repeated calls from Newsday this week.

Cuomo received notice from the Nassau District Court of the conviction this week, a spokesman for his office said. The governor can now inform the town of the vacancy created by the conviction, state law says.

"When we receive that correspondence, we will act on it," town spokesman Mike Deery said Wednesday.

Bonilla, a Republican, has been town clerk for about 10 years and is paid $129,500 a year.

He was convicted of a class A misdemeanor and faces up to 1 year in jail. Sentencing is set for Sept. 26.

Gianelli found Bonilla not guilty of three additional charges -- another count of official misconduct, a count of coercion and a count of attempted petty larceny. Bonilla had waived his right to a jury trial.

Hempstead's Republican Party had dropped Bonilla from its slate of candidates for the fall elections. The GOP picked Nasrin Ahmad, an administrative supervisor in Bonilla's office, to run for the position. Democrats picked insurance law attorney Jasmine Garcia-Vieux.

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