(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Citing his past record of violating a Nassau resident’s civil rights at the behest of former County Executive Edward Mangano’s political benefactors, Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D – Freeport) opposed County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s nomination of John “Rick” Capece to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Mr. Capece’s nomination was approved by a 13-6 vote of the Nassau County Legislature on Monday, Feb. 28.
Mr. Capece, who previously served as Chief of Detectives in the Nassau County Police Department, retired in disgrace in 2013 after he and former Police Commissioner Thomas Dale “targeted Randy White, a 29-year-old Roosevelt man, on behalf of a political benefactor who sought to influence White's testimony in an election fraud case,” Newsday reports.
After the political benefactor called Dale, the former Commissioner contacted Capece, “who dramatically stopped a public bus to arrest White on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay a surcharge assessed on those convicted of any offense,” Newsday continued. White later sued the County and received a $295,000 settlement.
“Through his actions during the Randy White scandal, John ‘Rick’ Capece flagrantly violated Mr. White’s civil rights,” Minority Leader Abrahams said. “It is absolutely mind-boggling that the Blakeman administration is rolling out the red carpet for Mr. Capece’s return. For the sake of our residents, I pray that Mr. Capece proves me wrong.”
Mr. Capece’s nomination is one of several alarming top-level personnel choices made thus far by the Blakeman administration. Already, the administration has installed Herbert Flores, who was convicted of attempted bribery of a public servant in 2005, as Director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs. Flores and his brother were convicted related to a scheme in which they served as middlemen for Nassau University Medical Center employees who were selling patient data about emergency room patients to personal injury attorneys.
Michael Sposato, whose tenure as Nassau County Sheriff was plagued by gross mismanagement of inmate healthcare and a myriad of managerial and ethical failures that served to undermine the civil rights of the incarcerated and jeopardize the safety of corrections officers, Jail employees and inmates alike, was reinstalled by County Executive Blakeman to serve as Undersheriff.