Following in a long history of corruption in New York politics, seven local officials from the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island have been indicted on corruption charges which can land them in prison for a very long time if convicted.
Accusations against Town Supervisor Mangano and his wife include accepting bribes for paid for vacations in four tropical locations from businessman Harendra Singh, along with a no-show high paying job for Mangano’s wife Lisa from another individual named in the case.
“Edward Mangano and John Venditto abused their positions as the highest ranking elected officials in Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay respectively at least until today,” FBI assistant Director William Sweeney said in a statement released regarding the issue. The FBI is involved in the case because of one of the accused is involved in a separate Federal corruption issue.
Additional accusations include paving company of being awarded millions in projects for the town, since 2002. Ippolito previously worked for the paving company and was already serving a prison sentence for another charge and passed away in prison on June 5, 2017.
Former Town supervisor John Venditto, former planning and development commissioner Fredrick Ippolito and former public works commissioner Frank Antetomaso were all named in the suit. Other names include the Town Executive and his wife, Ed Mangano and his wife Lisa, along with a Long Island businessman Harendra Singh. Elisa Aly Lizza and Marisa Lizza of Carlo Lizza and Sons Paving Inc, a Long Island based Paving company, were named in the suit filed against the accused.
A State of Corruption
New York and Long Island have a long history of political corruption dating back to a scourge of corruption in the 1980s and 1990s when numerous high profile names were convicted of corruption. According to the website, Politifact, there have been more than 30 corruption cases within the last decade. “Historically New York has struggled with corruption and continues to do so,” said Jennifer Rodgers, who is head of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.
Politicians have made promises in their campaigns to clean up Albany and to clean up local politics in New York, but have continually broken that promise.
“In the past decade, in New York more than 30 current and former state officeholders have been convicted, sanctioned or accused of wrongdoing, more than any other state,” candidate Elaine Phillips, a Republican candidate for New York State senate accurately said in a Facebook post during her 2016 bid for the New York State Senate. Phillips won her 7th District Senate race over her Democratic opponents, Adam Heber 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent.
Trouble in Oyster Bay
If convicted, all parties involved in the Oyster Bay fiasco face long prison sentences.
The list of corrupt politicians is a bi-partisan problem that can be seen here. Issues of corruption range from bribery and acceptance of gifts while in public office, to throwing coffee in an aide’s face (the politician was convicted while in office so it was added to the list), to trying to use their office to influence personal business outcomes.
“Their alleged actions, if proven true, are a betrayal of the public trust and further shake our trust in government. Given the nature of the charges, it would be in the best interest of the County if both would resign in order to allow the people’s work to be conducted with unquestionable integrity,” Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos (D) said of the alleged allegations.
The allegations also said that Harendra Singh’s business benefitted from the work done by the County after he gave gifts to the Manganos. Some of the gifts Singh bought the Mangano’s include, a $3,371 Ergonomics office chair and Brookstone Massage chair for $3,623.73.
Elaine Phillips the candidate who ran against corruption also released a statement saying, “These defendants are of course, entitled to their day in court, but taxpayers and residents of Nassau County also have a right to know that their elected leaders are worthy of their trust, and that their first and only focus is on meeting the needs of our community.”
In conclusion, the issue of corruption is an old one that seems to never go away and it should therefore be an issue that is covered more closely in the national media. This type of political corruption has a major negative effect on the trust that politicians are given by the citizens they are supposed to be representing.
Links to sources:
- Patch.com Link: https://patch.com/new-york/oysterbay/nassau-county-executive-ed-mangano-appears-federal-court-thursday-morning
- New York Times, Political Corruption Page: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/23/nyregion/23moreland-commission-and-new-york-political-scandals.html
- ABC 7 Link: https://abc7ny.com/politics/7-surrender-to-face-40-count-corruption-indictment-on-long-island/2162851
- Politifact New York Link: https://www.politifact.com/new-york/statements/2016/sep/19/elaine-phillips/new-york-has-been-most-corrupt-state-decades/