Richard “Rob” Walker, who was chief deputy under former County Executive Ed Mangano, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 22 to federal charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to FBI agents. He was released on a $200,000 bond, for which he and his wife put up their Hicksville home.
He was indicted just weeks before Mangano is scheduled to face trial on corruption charges.
According to court papers, the case against Walker, 43, centers around a $5,000 payment made to him in Indiana at a University of Notre Dame football game by an unnamed contractor in 2014, and Walker’s attempts to conceal the payment from investigators. The government contends that Walker attempted to “obstruct and impede” a federal grand jury investigation, and lied to the FBI about receiving the money.
Walker, a Republican from Hicksville, represented the 15th Assembly District, which includes East Meadow, from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he was a full-time employee in the Town of Oyster Bay Parks Department from 1998 to 2005. He is also the son of Rose Marie Walker, a Republican county legislator and former Oyster Bay councilwoman.
After leaving the arraignment in Central Islip last week, Walker’s attorney, Brian Griffin of Garden City, said there was no political misconduct alleged in the two charges filed against his client. He referred to Walker as a “dedicated public servant” who spent his adult life in public service.
“Over the last 2 ½ years, the federal government has gone through every contract Mr. Walker ever dealt with, every campaign contribution he ever received,” Griffin told reporters outside the courthouse. “What we now know from today’s charges is there is no allegation, nor is there any charge of public corruption. There is no allegation, nor is there any charge of bribery, official misconduct or improper campaign contributions.”
Walker’s indictment comes more than two years after he confirmed, while testifying in the federal corruption trial of former State Sen. Dean Skelos, that federal prosecutors were probing his role in county contracts that went to political campaign contributors.
Walker, who heads the West Hicksville Republican Club, is currently employed, according to Griffin.
After his arraignment, Walker got into a brown Ford F-150 pickup and left without commenting.
Escorting Walker and his wife to and from the courthouse was retired Nassau County Deputy Parks Commissioner Robert Dwyer, also a Hicksville resident and longtime friend of Walker’s family. Dwyer retired from his $130,000 a year county job in August 2010, after working less than eight months. He took an early retirement buyout, and was immediately hired back as a consultant, making about $30,000 a year.
Dwyer ran the parks system in the Town of Oyster Bay for decades before taking the county job, where he was credited with launching a summer recreation camp and concert series. His post-retirement, part-time status at the county “was approved by the Civil Service Commission after following proper procedure by seeking an ethics board opinion,” county officials said at the time.
Walker’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 16.
For more details on the Walker case, visit www.liherald.com.