County Democratic Legislators to Mangano:
“Giveaways to Politically Connected is Irresponsible”
Nassau County Legislature’s Minority Leader Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) and the Democratic Caucus today voiced strong opposition to the Mangano Administration’s request for legislative approval granting lucrative contracts to several of its political cronies and politically connected law firms. Democratic lawmakers are incensed that this request, which comprises half of the total $2 million budgeted amount for outside counsel, comes at the most critical point in the County’s financial history.
Minority Leader Yatauro said, “We are just days away from a decision regarding a state takeover of Nassau County finances. Less than 10 days into the new budget year the administration seeks to spend half its budgeted amount for the entire year. This is not proper fiscal management. This is the Mangano administration providing huge, financial give-aways to its friends and politically-connected firms.” Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) added, “These contracts with outside law firms, including the County Executive’s former law firm, seem to fly in the face of fiscal prudence. Several of them started as $25,000 contracts and have escalated to amounts of up to $300,000. At a time of fiscal austerity, with NIFA contemplating a takeover of County finances, we need to be looking at ways of saving money, not spending it.”
Legislator Wayne Wink said. "This is just the latest attempt on the part of the Mangano Administration to circumvent proper oversight of these contracts by the Legislature. While NIFA contemplates a takeover of Nassau's finances, I call upon the Administration to reduce its spending on outside counsel, rather than hold what amounts to a fire sale of taxpayer money to politically connected firms."
The lucrative contracts include: $350,000 to Lewis & Fiore, LLP, partner David Lewis has been a frequent co-counsel with County Attorney John Ciampoli on several election law cases; $250,000 to Wilson, Elser the largest lobbying firm in New York State with strong Republican ties; $300,000 to Rivkin Radler; and another contract for $175,000 to Rivkin Radler. Rivkin Radler is the former law firm of County Executive Ed Mangano. All the contracts being approved are for legal services which traditionally have been performed by in-house counsel at a greater savings for taxpayers.
Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) said, “"No-bid sweetheart contracts to connected law firms was commonplace when the borrow, tax and spend Republican machine ran the county to the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s and, unfortunately, it is commonplace now. The Republican administration and its rubber stamp Republican majority have driven the county to debt, deficit and bond rating downgrades; yet, with a state takeover looming, they are giving millions in no-bid contracts to connected law firms."
The Democratic Caucus was joined at the press conference by several civic leaders and taxpayer advocates.
Nassau County Legislators Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick); Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck); and Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn)
are pictured with Minority Leader Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) at the press conference identifying County Executive
Mangano's political cronies whose law firms would benefit from lucrative contracts with the county.