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Letters: Lack of jail for Venditto reveals a double standard

Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto

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

Nassau County will never be free from corruption when former elected officials who are felons get little or no punishment [“Venditto admits to corruption,” News, July 27].

Former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto will face no prison time, parole or fine after he pleaded guilty to charges he helped then-town planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito change zoning laws to build a housing complex from which Ippolito would have benefitted financially. This is despicable.

It seems that our officials are paid well in office and forget what they were elected to do for the people they serve. What is the point of spending taxpayer money on any of these prosecutions when the outcomes are farcical? The most taxpayers can hope for is to remove the bad seeds from office. Real punishment comes from the disgrace of losing their positions and hopefully their livelihoods. It certainly won’t come from the courts.

Debra Gerrity,

North Bellmore

The Venditto plea deal reflects the anxiety of those in power concerned about their particular towns. Benefiting from or aiding others in pilfering from the public purse can be remedied by financial penalties.

A felony charge of “corrupt use of position or authority” cannot. Voters rightfully presume that election to public office deserves fiduciary-level performance. To say, “OK, you got me!” as exculpatory is to equate malfeasance with tag or manhunt.

Erasing a potential eight-year prison sentence minimizes the public interest in ethical government. One year’s incarceration would uphold, minimally, the principle that corrupt acts are unacceptable. The settlement diminishes the public interest and encourages future miscreants.

Brian P. Kelly,

Rockville Centre

Another case of a politician abusing the power of his office and walking away with a slap on the wrist. How does a felon not get jail time?

I was taken aback by District Attorney Madeline Singas’ comment, “This plea sends a strong message that we will prosecute and we will investigate and we will hold those accountable at the highest levels when they abuse the public trust.”

How can she possibly say this outcome sends a strong message?

Rich Sundermier,

Rockville Centre

Am I supposed to be satisfied because John Venditto is now a felon, fallen from grace? Am I supposed to ignore the fact that he will serve no prison time? Tell me please, would this plea deal have been available to someone who was not a former GOP political power broker?

Same old same old on Long Island.

Barbara Graziano,

Riverhead

John Venditto admitted a felony charge of corrupt use of position or authority. Although he lost his law license, he received no jail time, no probation and no community service.

On the very next page of the paper was an article about a criminal defense attorney, Scott Brettschneider, who submitted a false letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in an attempt to get a client released into a drug-treatment program. His punishment: 60 days of incarceration, a $2,000 fine, 4 years of probation and 80 hours of community service.

Both of these felons clearly deserve punishment. However, it seems that there are many benefits for those who hold public office on Long Island.

Bernard Beckerman,

Plainview

Praise for Islander who led 9/11 effort

President Donald Trump signed the 911 Victim Compensation Fund bill as a result of the decadelong effort of John Feal of Nesconset [“9/11 victims fund is good through 2092,” News, July 30].

With others, Feal originated and directed efforts to achieve this law. He organized trips to Washington to cajole members of Congress. He provided encouragement and solace to thousands of victims and their families. He visited many patients and attended many funerals.

If there were a Long Island man of the year award, it should go to Feal.

Peter Hanson,

Nesconset

Editor’s note: The writer is a board member of the 911 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset.

Freeport has plenty of affordable housing

Your July 28 editorial, “Freeport is missing the train,” places the burden of additional Long Island housing on the second-most populous village in the State of New York.

Having lived the first 25 years of my life in the Village of Hempstead and the past 46 years in the Village of Freeport, I am well versed on the circumstances of this area. These two villages have provided more than their fair share of housing on Long Island. Count the number of apartment buildings in Freeport, and then do the same for neighboring Merrick and Bellmore. You’ll note an overwhelming difference and easily conclude which neighborhoods have provided a greater share of affordable housing.

As a Freeport resident, I welcome the Lexus auto dealership to four acres near the train station. Economic development, including more jobs for our residents, is needed more than making the already overpopulated village even more so.

Charles J. Shields III,

Freeport

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