The Islip Town board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Supervisor Tom Croci to enter into a contract with a public relations consultant for a total of $3,000 a month for up to six months.
Two resolutions authorize Croci to enter into a contract with Todd Shapiro Associates of New York to do public relations for the town’s Industrial Development Agency and its public information office.
Shapiro, who could not be reached for comment, has had a variety of clients, including the towns of Huntington and Brookhaven.
He is also a public relations adviser to developer Gerald Wolkoff, whose proposed Heartland project Islip’s town board must consider if it is to advance. Wolkoff is negotiating with the town on a new IDA payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan for the property. An initial 10-year pact between the town IDA and Wolkoff on the Heartland property expires at the end of the tax year.
Wolkoff said Shapiro’s main focus for him has been the Heartland golf park in Edgewood and that Shapiro is not involved in lobbying the town on his behalf. “I do have lobbyists that work for me,” Wolkoff said. “He is not one of them, and he certainly has nothing to do with my IDA tax abatement agreement with the town.”
Shapiro’s relationship with Wolkoff has raised the specter of a possible conflict of interest.
Croci said any potential conflict would be immediately addressed and referred to the town’s ethics board.
According to the firm’s website, Shapiro represents such businesses as Briarcliffe College, Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, Hofstra University and Hooters of Long Island and New Jersey.
Above: Todd Shapiro