Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto at the...

Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola on July 26, 2019. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto will be remembered for his fight against zoning changes that he felt threatened the town’s suburban style, his fight to improve the town infrastructure regardless of cost, his fight to keep town taxes low, and his fight against criminal accusations that led to his resignation and eventual conviction and disbarment.

Venditto, who won 10 terms as supervisor and led the town for 20 years, died of cancer Tuesday at age 70. He left office in 2017 while under federal indictment on corruption charges in a case that saw his acquittal in 2018, although co-defendants former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, were convicted in a retrial. Cleared of those charges, Venditto pleaded guilty in 2019 to a felony corruption charge and official misconduct, a misdemeanor, a resolution that included no legal punishment beyond the loss of his law license.

Venditto’s influence on the Oyster Bay of today runs deep. He oversaw a massive increase in spending that led to dramatic upgrades in the quality of town roads, parks and beaches. But that devotion, combined with an aversion to tax increases that lasted until his final few years in office, also left the town with $800 million in debt. His opposition to development and multi-family housing pleased many residents who liked things just the way they were. It was, the "Oyster Bay Way," he would explain, always with a smile.

The editorial board