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NuHealth endorsement for DA was GOP politics

Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow is

Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow is seen in this undated photo. Credit: Handout

There's nothing surprising about the public benefit corporation that runs the Nassau University Medical Center endorsing Kate Murray for Nassau County district attorney.

It was inappropriate, and likely illegal. But it wasn't surprising, and it wasn't the first time the new leadership of the facility inserted itself into politics.

NuHealth has been run as an arm of and a feeding trough for Republican power brokers in Nassau since County Executive Edward Mangano was elected to his second term in 2013.

Last week, NuHealth posted a news release on its website saying it endorsed Murray, the Hempstead Town supervisor, over Democrat and Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas. Issued under the name of medical center president Victor Politi and board chairman Michael Mirotznik, the release pointed to Murray's support for using more of the district attorney's asset forfeiture fund to fight heroin, then repeated three paragraphs from one of Murray's own campaign releases to make the point.

After expressions of outrage from both Democrats and Republicans that a publicly financed hospital was making political endorsements, the medical center took the release off its website and called it an unauthorized mistake.

But everyone knows the hospital is the Republicans' best patronage pit. Defeated county legislator John Ciotti was appointed to a $300,000 general counsel job at the medical center. Mangano's secretary, who went from his law firm, Rivkin Radler, to the county, got a $164,999 position as "director of intergovernmental affairs and community service representative." And then there was the move of Politi himself from acting police commissioner to medical center head. The playbook is clear to anyone paying attention.

But in this case it's extra worrisome, as these Republicans try to leverage one power base to establish another.