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One year ago today ...
Friday marks one year since Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and then-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto were arrested on federal corruption charges. With both their cases pending and court dates set for January, the election to be held in just under three weeks might answer another question: Just who is on trial here?
Venditto retired to concentrate on fighting his charges, and Mangano elected not to seek a third term after the county GOP made it clear he did not have the party’s support. But the accusations against both are at the core of the Democratic assertion — in races for offices in the county, and in Oyster Bay and Hempstead towns — that Republicans who have run those governments for so long have built a corrupt system of patronage and pork that voters ought to reject.
Will that strategy work for Democrats? Will voters hold Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino and county executive hopeful Jack Martins in contempt at the ballot box, along with other GOP candidates for the town boards and county legislature?
The jury is still out. There may even be a split decision.
Trump making New York moves
It’s becoming increasingly likely that President Donald Trump will make appointments soon to two of the nation’s most prestigious U.S. attorney’s offices, those in the Southern and Eastern districts of New York. Multiple sources tell The Point that the administration would like to include these two nominations in the next tranche sent to the Senate for consideration before the end of the year.
CNN and Politico reported Thursday that Trump has met with Edward McNally, one of the two candidates for the Brooklyn post, and with Geoffrey Berman for the Manhattan office. It is extremely rare for a president to meet with candidates as opposed to nominees.
That spurred a flurry of indignation by Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Dianne Feinstein of California, who said Trump should not be meeting with candidates, especially those who would have jurisdiction over cases that could involve him and his family. Trump Tower is in Manhattan, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has many properties in Brooklyn, including his purchase of the Watchtower building that needs financing.
The news of Trump’s meeting with McNally also set off alarms among supporters of Richard Donoghue, the other candidate for the Eastern District. Donoghue, counsel to CA Technologies, is the candidate favored most by the local law enforcement and legal community and alums of the Eastern District, where he was a longtime prosecutor. McNally is a law partner of Trump long-time personal lawyer Mark Kasowitz.
No spooking Nassau
Sparring at the Coliseum
All is quiet on the land around Nassau Coliseum, where construction on retail and entertainment development was supposed to be long done — but has yet to even begin.
The noise is in the courtroom.
After months of unproductive settlement negotiations, developer Ed Blumenfeld is “resuming litigation full speed ahead” against Forest City Ratner Cos., according to Blumenfeld Development Group attorney Ronald J. Rosenberg of Garden City.
Blumenfeld has argued that developer Bruce Ratner cut him out of a partnership that was to handle the retail development portion of the Coliseum project. Ratner contends there was never a final partnership deal between the two.
Rosenberg told The Point that for the last several months, there had been a temporary stay on the proceedings to allow the parties to reach a settlement. That was unsuccessful, in part, Rosenberg said, because the overarching deal between Ratner’s development entity, Nassau Events Center Plaza, and Nassau County still isn’t complete. It’s missing critical details, he said, such as agreements on retail signage and how to handle parking for retail customers.
County attorney Carnell Foskey, meanwhile, said in a statement that the county expects Nassau Events Center Plaza to complete development at the site “notwithstanding the internal dispute.”
A Forest City Ratner official told The Point the two parties have a settlement discussion scheduled for next week. But that item on the calendar isn’t changing Blumenfeld’s plans to complete document discovery by the end of the year and then move to either summary judgment or trial, Rosenberg said. Meanwhile, county and development officials are still trying to figure out where to put two planned parking garages, which they said must be determined before any retail space is built.
And it’s very late in the game for the administration of Edward Mangano. A new county executive will be elected next month — and the future of the Nassau Hub will be influenced by his or her vision.
Rosenberg said politics didn’t play a role in Blumenfeld’s decision to return to court. But with so much in flux and a new partner taking a seat at the table soon, it’s perhaps understandable that a developer anxious for a piece of the Nassau Hub wouldn’t want to settle now.
Randi F. Marshall