After Superstorm Sandy devastated Long Island, restaurateur Harendra Singh testified that he provided then-Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and other high-ranking county officials with meals of steak and shrimp, far superior to the food supplied to emergency workers
A former county emergency operations official testified on Tuesday that Mangano had pushed for Singh to be awarded a no-bid contract, paid for with FEMA funds, in the wake of the storm, according to Newsday.
The official, John Maguire, said Mangano’s former assistant Laura Munafo told him “who the [expletive] are you to pick a caterer?” according to Newsday. Maguire said he believed Munafo was speaking for Mangano.
Maguire’s testimony was part of the ongoing trial of Mangano, Mangano’s wife, Linda, and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto at a court in Central Islip.
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.
The trial’s focus turned back to Mangano after a couple weeks of focusing on Venditto and efforts to secure a town loan guarantee for Singh, who confessed to providing Venditto and Mangano with free meals and other gifts in exchange for contracts. Linda Mangano was also paid $450,000 for what prosecutors have called a no-show job.
Last week, an attorney who served as outside counsel to Oyster Bay testified that Mangano told town officials to secure a loan guarantee for Singh, according to Newsday. Singh was able to secure a $1.5 million line of credit through the work of the law firm Rivkin Radler, where Mangano had previously worked.
Under the state constitution, this action was illegal. But former Town Attorney Frederick Mei testified last week that the bribes he received from Singh and the pressure from Venditto made it clear that he was to find a legal loophole, Newsday reported.
Howard Kurtzberg, the vice president and general counsel at NDH Capital Corp., testified on Tuesday that the bank would not have extended credit to Singh without Oyster Bay’s backing, according to Newsday.
Another Nassau emergency worker, Heather McNeill, testified that she saw Maguire in a heated exchange with Munafo over health code violations by county jail employees who served food to emergency workers, Newsday reported. McNeill testified that Munafo told her and Maguire that the county was “going with H,” which she understood to be Singh.
Later that day, McNeill said, a dinner service from Singh arrived at the county offices, according to Newsday.