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Hempstead GOP drops Bonilla from fall slate

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla stands outside

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla stands outside his office in Hempstead Town Hall. (Sept. 26, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead Town Republicans have dropped embattled Clerk Mark Bonilla from their slate of candidates for the fall elections, with his trial on criminal charges scheduled to begin in July.

Bonilla was charged in September with coercion, attempted petty larceny and two counts of official misconduct stemming from allegations he tried to obtain intimate and personal photographs of a female subordinate who had accused him of sexual harassment. Bonilla, who has been the town clerk for close to a decade and is paid $129,500 annually, faces up to 1 year in jail if convicted. Jury selection starts July 8.

"Everything is on hold until the trial," Bonilla's attorney Adrian DiLuzio said of Bonilla's political future. "Whatever decision he is going to make will be made after we have a verdict and we know how his life will be affected by the case."

Republicans picked Nasrin Ahmad, an administrative supervisor in Bonilla's office, to run for clerk at the party convention last week.

"The committee felt it was time to move on in a new direction with a fresh face," said Nassau County Republican Committee spokesman and senior Town Councilman Anthony Santino. When pressed for further comment about the party dropping Bonilla, Santino said, "I'll stick to my original statement."

Ahmad, 56, of Salisbury, is paid $90,000 annually.

"I am excited to be a part of the team," said Ahmad, who has worked in the town clerk's office for 15 years. "I am their colleague and their friend, and now I am going to be their leader."

DiLuzio said Bonilla was not surprised Republicans did not nominate him, adding Bonilla has high regard for Ahmad.

"I didn't get any sense there was any resentment on his part," DiLuzio said. "I think he is smart enough to know which way the wind is blowing."

State board of elections records show Bonilla has received no campaign contributions this year. The Friends of Mark A. Bonilla's closing balance was negative $10,313 as of January. The deadline to file nominating petitions for a primary with the Nassau County Board of Elections is July 11 and Bonilla has yet to file, Democratic Elections Commissioner William Biamonte said.

The Democrats named their slate at their convention Tuesday night.

The party picked computer programmer Felix Procacci, 51, of Franklin Square, a Republican and longtime town critic, to run against Supervisor Kate Murray. Insurance law attorney Jasmine Garcia-Vieux, 36, of Levittown, will take on Ahmad.

For town council, graduate student Patrick Gillespie, 23, of East Rockaway, will run against Santino. Diane Madden, 53, of East Meadow, a registered Conservative best known for her activism with regard to the town's animal shelter, will run against Republican Gary Hudes. Democratic incumbent Dorothy Goosby will face Republican Elton McCabe, 47, of Uniondale, a town engineering field inspector.

With Jennifer Barrios and Patrick Whittle

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