Nassau County Republicans being indicted is not new.
Back in 1973, G.O.P. District Attorney William Cahn was convicted of double-billing his expenses and was sentenced to a year in jail.
A decade later, the all-powerful boss, Joe Margiotta, was convicted of mail fraud, extortion and a kickback scheme and served half of his two-year sentence.
There have been other indictments and convictions since then, but this past year records have been broken.
First, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was found guilty of eight counts of bribery, corruption and extortion.
Then, former Oyster Bay Commissioner for Planning, Frederick Ippolito, pleaded guilty to evading federal income taxes on $2 million of income.
On October 20, 2016 County Executive Ed Mangano was indicted on a bribery and kickback arrangement.
That same day, Mangano’s political crony, Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, was charged with obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents.
And on March 31, 2017, a leading GOP operative and special counsel to the County Executive was charged by the feds of tax evasion, wire fraud and signing false tax returns.
The corruption case against Ambrosino is an extraordinary one and the 13-page indictment is a fascinating read.
Wearing numerous political hats while associated with the Dean Skelos’ law firm, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, Ambrosino made a load of money; perhaps more than any local GOP pol in recent years.
At the law firm, Ambrosino received $200,000 a year and “15 percent of all legal fees he generated and collected in excess of $125,000.”
But the indictment alleges that Ambrosino “knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme and artifice to defraud the law firm,” and charges him with diverting at least $800,000 of $1.3 million in fees from clients — including Nassau County’s Industrial Development Agency and the County’s Local Economic Assistance Corporation — and depositing the money in the bank account of Vanderbilt Consulting, a sub S corp. he incorporated in 2011.
The U.S. Attorney also contends Ambrosino willfully attempted to evade paying over $250,000 in federal taxes by filing fraudulent individual and corporate income tax returns and phony expense deductions that included “rental payments for a Manhattan apartment paid by Ambrosino on behalf of a third party…”
There’s more to the Ambrosino scandal: In addition to receiving $71,000 a year as a Hempstead councilman, hundreds of thousands from Ruskin Moscou Faltischek and his so-called consulting firm, Ambrosino was paid $100,000 between 2012 and 2013 for serving as Ed Mangano’s special counsel.
Ambrosino and Mangano are buddies.
Newsday has reported that Ambrosino, Mangano and Robert Essig, a Bethpage electrician, jointly bought under the corporate name of Mae Bee Equities, “a two-bedroom, two-bath condominium on a golf course in Myrtle Beach….”
It also appears that when Ambrosino realized his scheming was catching up with him at Ruskin, miribile dictu, he was hired by Mangano’s old law firm, Rivkin Radler.
And get this, Mangano and Ambrosino are partners in a private equity investment firm called Blue Rhino Capital located in Atlanta, Ga.
Ed Mangano, who after eight years in office still doesn’t understand that borrowed money doesn’t count as operating budget revenue under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, is a partner in an investment firm?
How ridiculous is that?
I’m hoping that the U.S. Attorney and District Attorney are looking into the Myrtle Beach condo and the investment firm to determine if there has been any financial chicanery.
Here are some questions investigators should ask: Is it appropriate for the highly paid special counsel to the county executive to be a partner with his boss in a boutique private equity firm in Atlanta?
Did the Atlanta firm invest in any deals that came before the Nassau IDA or LEAC?
Did any IDA or LEAC fees paid to Ambrosino find their way to the county executive via Myrtle Beach Condo or the private equity firm?
Why did the county executive propose to increase his special counsel’s compensation by over $100,000?
And then drop the idea?
Nassau Republicans have been soaking taxpayers for decades.
If Nassau is to avoid insolvency, voters must come out in force and banish these corrupt and incompetent pols from County Hall this November.