Finding the link
In this week’s edition of There’s Always a Long Island Angle, it was local lawyer Charles Gucciardo who gave $500,000 to Rudy Giuliani to help fund Fraud Guarantee, according to The New York Times.
That was the dubious company started by Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who helped the former mayor’s efforts to kick up dirt in Ukraine about President Donald Trump’s rival Joe Biden and his son — efforts central to the impeachment inquiry.
Gucciardo “has not been implicated in any wrongdoing, and there is no evidence that he was involved in the Ukrainian pressure campaign,” the Times reports. He thought he was investing in a reputable company, his lawyer tells the paper.
Gucciardo runs a personal injury law practice in Mineola and is registered to vote in Massapequa.
He testified about his love for Massapequa at a 2012 public hearing on redistricting, noting a fear of being lumped in with the North Shore, and saying “there’s a certain pride that we have as Massapequans,” according to a transcript.
He calls the community “cohesive,” a place with “great” fire and police forces, and a library that’s “second to none.” Government, however, has “become very, very complex.” Like many Long Islanders of a certain age, he said he was concerned about his children’s futures: “How you going to be able to afford to live the way we live?”
He is active on the local political scene, contributing to Long Island Republicans: $1,000 to Rep. Pete King in 2018, $500 in 2009 to Steve Labriola, now an Oyster Bay Town board member, and $100 in 2012 to Joseph Saladino, now the town's supervisor, according to campaign finance filings.
The contributions weren’t all on the GOP side of the partisan divide: Gucciardo gave $25,000 to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2010.
But he appears to have embraced President Donald Trump in recent years at an even bigger level, donating tens of thousands among his campaign, the Republican National Committee, and a pro-Trump super PAC in the last two cycles.
He once shared column space with The Donald in a 1989 Newsday social item that describes a Trump cocktail party (“one of the biggest and worst”). Gucciardo wasn’t at the party, but he got a minor mention for allegedly dating a contessina “who's been linked with Sly Stallone.”
He got a little closer to Trump in 2018, when he attended a Trump hotel fundraising event in D.C., as The Washington Post chronicled at the time.
“I give so much credit to Donald Trump, who needed this like he needed a hole in the head,” Gucciardo told the paper. He added that he’d once waited six hours to try to shake Trump’s hand at an event.
“I’ve seen Donald Trump four times so far, but I’ve never gotten to shake his hand,” he said. “I just want to shake his hand!”
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Post-election discussion about the Hub
Tuesday’s election puts Republicans at the helm of the Town of Hempstead at a particularly crucial time for its largest parcel of available land: the Nassau Hub in Uniondale.
It was a previous Republican administration, including incoming town clerk and then-Supervisor Kate Murray, who blocked the Hub’s last major development attempt, the $3.8 billion Lighthouse Project.
But this time around is different, according to Maureen Hanlon, president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which oversees Nassau Coliseum and is partnering on the development at the Hub. Hanlon has been involved in the Coliseum and the Hub’s redevelopment for years, but took on a more public role when Brett Yormark left Onexim in September.
In a conversation with The Point Thursday, Hanlon said she sees the Hub development as “bipartisan.” Onexim and its partner, RXR Realty, have said they expect to file a conceptual master plan with Hempstead in the next few weeks. But such a plan likely won’t come up for approval until the likely next supervisor, Don Clavin, takes office. Hanlon, however, said she doesn’t expect any roadblocks from the town’s new Republican leadership.
“Everybody believes this is the one that’s going to work,” Hanlon said. “If you have someone who stands in and stops it, there’s going to need to be a real explanation because a lot of people will say, ‘Why?’”
But an RXR source told The Point that the developer isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Given the history of the Hub, clearly nothing is done until it’s done,” the source said. “We certainly have a lot of work ahead with all of the numerous stakeholders involved in the project and we look forward to turning this exciting vision into a reality.”
Hanlon pointed to support from the surrounding communities and efforts by the Hub’s community benefits advisory board to come up with wish lists for schools, local transportation, job training, and other areas.
“Everybody wants something from it, and we understand that, but if it doesn’t get built, nobody gets anything,” Hanlon said. “I think there’s a general sense that if you fight amongst yourselves too much, it won’t happen and everybody will suffer. There’s an overwhelming sense that now this is good for everybody, this is needed and this is the right thing to do.”
Onexim and its subsidiary, Nassau Events Center, are also focused on what’s next for Nassau Coliseum, especially once the New York Islanders begin playing at their new arena in Belmont Park, expected to open in 2021.
Nassau Events Center senior vice president Nick Vaerewyck told The Point he hopes to expand the Coliseum’s existing efforts to welcome events that might not easily work in other arenas. Vaerewyck cited the Longines Masters, an equestrian competition that came to the Coliseum in April and made use of both the arena and the exhibition hall space. He pointed to the New York Open for tennis, winter markets, trade shows, festivals and e-gaming as other areas of growth, along with concerts, family shows and sporting events.
“Utilizing all the spaces can set us apart from other venues,” Vaerewyck said.
For now, however, the Coliseum is sticking to a more traditional playlist. After two nights of hosting Dead & Company, Ariana Grande will play this weekend. And next Monday, one of the arena’s anchor tenants comes to town … as the Long Island Nets open their season.
—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
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