Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife, Linda, and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto were arrested today in connection with a 13-count federal indictment on charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud.
The unsealed indictment charges that Mangano, 54, the highest ranking elected official in the county, traded favors to a wealthy Long Island restaurateur in exchange for free vacations, meals and gifts, including a massage chair and hardwood floors. While the restaurateur is not named in the indictment, sources say it is likely Harendra Singh, who was arrested last year in connection with a multimillion dollar fraud and bribery scheme.
Mangano’s wife Linda, 54, was also named in the indictment, which states that she was paid by the unnamed businessman more than $450,000 for a no-show job at a restaurant from April 2010 to August 2014.
Venditto, 67, was named in the scheme to receive bribes and kickbacks in exchange for official actions beneficial to the restaurateur.
Official actions included the guarantee of four loans totaling about $20 million for the restaurateur, as well as contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said at a press conference.
“Yet again, we announce a breach of trust by two of our public officials. In 2010, Nassau County voters granted Edward Mangano the opportunity to serve by electing him their highest ranking official in the County. Similarly, in 1998, Town of Oyster Bay voters granted John Venditto the honor of electing him their chief elected official. Yet, as alleged in the indictment, both of these men undermined the very system of laws they promised to uphold by furthering their personal interests rather than the best interests of their constituents. Sadly, Mangano also enlisted the assistance of his wife in an attempt to shield his wrongdoing from public scrutiny,” said Capers. “However, no one is above the law and the defendants will now be held to account for their actions.”
The indictment further alleges that the Manganos and Venditto engaged in obstruction of justice in connection with their attempts to cover up their wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Linda Mangano and Venditto are also charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement authorities on multiple occasions.
If convicted, Ed Mangano and Venditto each face up to 20 years in prison if they are convicted of honest services wire fraud, up to 10 years for the bribery charge and up to five years for the conspiracy to commit federal bribery. In addition, Ed Mangano faces up to 20 years for the extortion charge and or the obstruction of justice charge, the Manganos and Venditto each face up to 20 years in prison and five years each for the false statement charge.
While neither Ed Mangano or Venditto, both Republicans, have said they will resign, the arrests could have dramatic repercussions on Election Day as Democrats seek to wrestle away control of the state Senate. In a statement, Senate Democratic spokesman Michael Murphy said the indictments illustrate how “the Nassau Republican machine has done enormous damage to the residents, businesses and taxpayers of Long Island.”
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans held their own press conference on the steps of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Building in Mineola, calling for Mangano and Venditto to resign from office.
“When something like this happens, it is incumbent on leadership to move quickly to transition to new leadership,” said Sen. Jack Martins. “The public process has to continue. The taxpayers and residents of Nassau County [must] continue to have confidence in government and understand that [public] services will continue to be provided. Government will continue to move forward, and the issues that are important to the [public] are at the fore, and [government] cannot continue to be distracted in the exercise of [its] responsibilities.”
Read “Legal Fight Looms After Indictments.”