Why did restaurateur Harendra Singh hire Linda Mangano to work as his marketing director?
“Her qualification was she was the county executive’s wife,” Singh told a federal court jury, according to Newsday.
Since last Thursday, Singh has taken the stand as the star witness in the trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, his wife and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto in Central Islip.
Over his two days of testimony, Singh repeated much of what he told prosecutors in October 2016, when he pleaded guilty to bribery. Singh said he supplied Venditto and the Manganos free meals at his restaurants, and the Manganos received gifts including a $100,000-per-year job for Linda Mangano in which Singh expected her to do no work, Newsday said.
Edward Mangano and Venditto are charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest services wire fraud. Mangano was additionally charged with extortion and Venditto with securities fraud. Linda Mangano is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements to the FBI and obstruction of justice. All three have pleaded not guilty.
According to Newsday, Singh employed Linda Mangano and her son, Sal, who was paid $900 per week as the manager of a Tobay Beach eatery.
Newsday reported on Wednesday that Singh had testified to giving former Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato and had many meals with him at IHOP in order to obtain a contract to provide the county jail with bread and rolls.
On Tuesday, Singh revealed that he provided steaks and shrimp for VIPs like Mangano and Sposato during the recovery efforts after superstorm Sandy, far superior to the food Singh was supplying to emergency workers, Newsday reported. The meals were paid for using funds from FEMA, Newsday said.
Singh said that county and Oyster Bay Republicans helped him to secure business loan guarantees after he began to struggle financially. He said that even with his money problems, Edward Mangano would call Singh if Linda’s paycheck was late; he would have to deliver the check because Linda did not come to work, according to Newsday.
The paychecks for Linda Mangano lasted from April 9, 2010, to Aug. 4, 2014, Newsday reported. Singh testified that the checks stopped because his office was raided by the FBI on Aug. 5.
Singh testified that he was able to obtain a loan guarantee after meeting with several local leaders and attorneys at the Massapequa Republican Club in April 2010. Among those in attendance were Edward Mangano, Venditto, two attorneys from Mangano’s former law firm, Rivkin Radler, local GOP leader Richard Porcelli and Deputy County Executive Rob Walker, according to Newsday.
Walker has been charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI in a case unrelated to Singh. He has pleaded not guilty.
Craig Burnett, a professor of political science at Hofstra University, said last week that the Manganos’ and Venditto’s attorneys would attack Singh’s credibility. Although Singh has not faced cross-examination, defense attorneys have already issued statements claiming that Singh was not to be trusted.
“The government has said in open court: ‘Mr. Singh lies, even his mother lies. He cannot be trusted,'” John Carman, attorney for Linda Mangano, told Newsday on Monday. “Today he plays the role of their star witness.”