Mangano, Venditto engaged in conspiracy to help restaurateur, prosecutors say

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Mangano, Venditto engaged in conspiracy to help restaurateur, prosecutors say
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, as seen leaving the federal courthouse in Central Islip. (Photo by Joe Nikic)

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto were involved in a “conspiracy to solicit and receive bribes and kickbacks” from an unnamed co-conspirator, federal prosecutors argued in court documents filed last week.

In the papers, prosecutors argued that the conspiracy lasted from January 2010, when Mangano first took office, through February 2015. A businessman asked Mangano to help secure millions of dollars worth of loans for his restaurants, prosecutors wrote, from the Town of Oyster Bay.

Mangano went on to pressure Venditto to back four loans to the alleged co-conspirator, prosecutors said, and secure contracts for him.

“This case concerns the corrupt abuse of power by Mangano and Venditto – two elected officials in Nassau County, where the TOB is located – and the willingness of Co-Conspirator #1, a local businessman and restaurateur, to pay bribes in order to obtain official action from these officials for Co-Conspirator #1’s benefits,” prosecutors wrote in the court papers.

Newsday, citing sources close to the investigation, identified the restaurateur and alleged co-conspirator as Harendra Singh.

Anthony La Pinta, Singh’s attorney, was not available for comment on the case.

Prosecutors also said that Venditto and his family received limousine services, discounts for the businesses’ events, free private office space and meals. The co-conspirator, meanwhile, provided the Mangano family free vacations, flooring and other items of material value, prosecutors said.

Mangano’s wife, Linda, prosecutors said, received “sham” employment in one of the alleged co-conspirator’s restaurants, for which she was paid over $450,000. She has been charged with making false statements in the case.

The court paper, totaling more than 100 pages, was filed in opposition to a string of pretrial motions filed by Edward Mangano, his wife and Venditto aiming to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Kevin Keating, a Garden City-based attorney representing Mangano, said lawyers are  drafting a reply to prosecutors and plan to “vigorously contest the government’s view of the facts and the law.”

John Carman, a Garden City-based attorney representing Linda Mangano, was not  available for comment, but told Newsday that the court paper is “not giving him a chance to adequately defend his client.”

“When the government charges a citizen with making a false statement, one would think that they would tell her what it is,” Carman told Newsday. “In their motion response, they again steadfastly refuse to do so.”

The 13-count indictment includes one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, one count of honest services fraud, all against Edward Mangano and Venditto.

The county executive also faces one count of extortion and, along with his wife, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Linda Mangano faces one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements related to a part-time job with Singh for which she received $450,000, while Venditto is facing additional charges of one count of obstruction of justice and one count of making false statements.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled for Jan. 16.

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