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OpinionOpEd

Long Island earns its reputation

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Daily Point

Harendra Singh is making waves in NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s busy Sunday included the opening of Brooklyn headquarters for his 2017 re-election campaign and a rare Q&A period while he rode the F train to complain about the MTA. But there was one subject he wouldn’t address: restaurateur Harendra Singh.

The Long Island fixture whose entanglements with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano led to Mangano’s bribery indictment also has impacted NYC politics. Within the five boroughs, Singh owned a Queens restaurant called Water’s Edge on New York City property. He was also an early fundraiser and supporter of de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign, and reportedly called in a favor from the mayor to get some help with the restaurant’s lease. The back and forth over the restaurant was investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office, which this year decided not to file charges against the mayor. However, the acting U.S. attorney noted that de Blasio had acted on behalf of donors.

Over the weekend, news broke that a city employee involved in the restaurant lease negotiations and who was later fired has filed a notice of claim against the city ahead of a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit. That’s what de Blasio had no comment about on Sunday.

The employee told The New York Times that Singh told him, “I’m an important donor to the mayor,” which is different from how Mangano described his relationship with Singh: one of deep longstanding friendship. The city lawsuit raises the question of whether Singh’s quid pro quo mindset was only operative in the city.

Either way, Singh, who is awaiting trial on federal bribery and tax-evasion charges, has had influence felt beyond Long Island.

Mark Chiusano and Eli Reyes

Talking Point

Nice work if you can get it

For former Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, retirement lasted less than 100 hours. Thursday was his last day with the county, and Monday morning he started work at the helm of Lloyd Harbor’s village force.

He is officially a captain with Lloyd Harbor, a civil service designation he will hold for 12 weeks before he is scheduled to be named chief. For the 12-week period, Krumpter will earn $186,000 a year, the civil service rate for the rank of captain. His chief pay, a contractual matter, will have to be approved by the village board when a deal is inked. After resigning from Nassau, Krumpter received a separation check of about $540,000. That includes pay for accrued sick time, unused vacation days, comp time, personal days and a few other perks.

And Krumpter, 50, is collecting his pension of about $150,000 a year. Because he is not yet 65, he will need a state waiver to do the Lloyd Harbor job and collect the pension at the same time. He said that “based on other law enforcement personnel” who have been granted the waiver in similar circumstances, he does not expect any problems.

His retirement status with the county will actually save the village about $80,000 a year, Krumpter said, because it will not have to contribute to his pension or pay for his family health insurance policy.

And how does Krumpter feel about moving from the helm of a 2,500-person operation to a 13-person department?

“I’m very excited about the job, and I’m learning a lot about village forces and the work I have to do here initially,” Krumpter told The Point Monday. “And I’m also excited about the quality of life.”

Lane Filler

Pencil Point

SNL won’t be the same

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Bonus Points

Quick hits: Be careful what you wish for

  • Accepted political wisdom is that President Donald Trump needs a unifying legislative victory that can take the heat off his administration. So here comes the first big bipartisan measure from Congress — new sanctions on Russia. Be careful what you wish for.
  • White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the White House supports the new Russian sanctions bill. Her boss, new communications director Anthony Scaramucci, says President Donald Trump hasn’t decided whether to sign it. Thus began the effort to improve Trump’s messaging.
  • Former Arizona state senator Kelli Ward says Sen. John McCain should step down after his brain cancer diagnosis so “the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward.” Which would sound a lot more altruistic if Ward, who lost to McCain in last year’s GOP primary, wasn’t also angling to replace him.
  • The Republican Party and President Donald Trump loved the work Kenneth Starr did as independent counsel investigating Bill Clinton. Now comes word that Starr’s office also produced a memo that said a sitting president can be indicted. Wonder how Starr’s looking now?
  • China banned singer Justin Bieber from performing in the country because of past “bad behavior” but admitted he does have talent. Go ahead, supply your own punchline.
  • News reports say Volkswagen might have colluded with other German carmakers to illegally fix prices for emissions systems for diesel engines, the same engines the company rigged to evade emissions tests and release more pollution than allowed. Talk about cheap and dirty.
  • With President Donald Trump’s administration seeking to cut funds for research and science, U.S. experts are worried that China will be successful in its newly professed effort to become the world leader in artificial intelligence. And there’s nothing artificial about that bit of intelligence.

Michael Dobie

Columns