Hempstead HR contract roils Clavin’s bid for supervisor

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Receiver Donald Clavin at a press conference in June.

Donald Clavin, the Hempstead tax receiver and Republican candidate for supervisor, has returned campaign contributions to only one of two ex-commissioners involved in a controversial contract, records show.

Democratic Supervisor Laura Gillen’s campaign office shared the Clavin campaign’s financial disclosure report last Wednesday, showing the contributors for his supervisor bid. His supervisor campaign had received $800 since January 2019 from Ana-Maria Hurtado, the source of a controversial HR contract in Hempstead, but has returned all of her contributions to the campaign.

In June, a Newsday report prompted Gillen to call for an investigation into the HR contract. In 2017, Hurtado, then the commissioner of Hempstead’s Department of Occupational Resources, signed a two-year contract with Alcott HR. The contract provided for extra staff and Hurtado joined the company days after retiring in July 2017.

“Clavin’s picking and choosing his corrupt officials,” Gillen’s campaign manager, Michael Ousley, said in a statement. “Don Clavin thinks swindling taxpayers is just fine, so long as you’re from a prominent Republican family.”

Clavin’s campaign office did not respond to requests for comment.

In June, Gillen’s office said Gregory Becker, then commissioner for the Department of Occupational Resources, had extended the contract with Alcott in September 2018 until June 30, 2021. Becker served as a major target of Gillen’s call for a probe into the contract.

Becker has given Clavin’s campaign four campaign contributions totaling $1,500 since January, the disclosure report indicated. Clavin’s campaign has not returned those contributions.

“Commissioner Becker has displayed gross mismanagement, ignoring my office’s multiple directives to bring the department in line with federal funding and failing to provide any tangible documentation relating to the procurement process surrounding the contract in question,” Gillen said in June. At the time of the contract revelation, Gillen said she wanted Becker to step down.

Becker resigned from his position in late June, citing town health insurance incentives for retiring, according to Gillen’s office. After serving as a state assemblyman, Becker had started working for the Town of Hempstead in 1999 until his retirement in June.

Gillen said in June that the town corruption tax, which she described as taxpayer money diverted from helping the unemployed and given to “political patronage” via the contract, totaled $886,000.

Gillen’s press secretary said the Nassau County District Attorney’s office has informed her office that they are investigating the Alcott contract.

 

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