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Fair,33°
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Progressive Coalition protesters decry county's Sandy contracts
(Page 2 of 3)
Christina Daly/Herald
Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, right, of Merrick, participated in a recent Long Island Progressive Coalition protest, saying that County Executive Ed Mangano created an “appearance of impropriety” in accepting campaign contributions from contractors that did restoration work for the county after Hurricane Sandy. A Mangano spokesman later accused Denenberg of accepting illegal campaign contributions. Richard Landau of Merrick, whose home was severely damaged in Sandy, joined Denenberg at the protest.

Nevin also accused Denenberg of accepting illegal campaign contributions. “This is nothing less than political grandstanding by a legislator who accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from firms whose contracts he approved,” Nevin wrote. “We are calling for an investigation into Dave Denenberg for driving taxpayer dollars to not-for-profits that illegally donate to his campaign.”

Asked for clarification, Nevin said that the Nassau County Republican Party is calling for a probe into Denenberg’s campaign finances because of five campaign donations that he received between 2010 and 2012 — three from two local Little Leagues totaling $2,500, and two from local fire departments totaling $500.

Nevin said that Little Leagues and fire departments are barred by federal tax code from contributing to election campaigns because of their nonprofit status, and he alleged that Denenberg secured county taxpayer dollars for the fire departments after receiving campaign donations. Nevin said that GOP attorneys were filing a complaint with the New York State Board of Elections, seeking an investigation.

Denenberg denied the accusations, and called Nevin “a bully.” “Instead of answering questions about $144,000 from Sandy contractors in the 11 weeks after Hurricane Sandy, he likes to divert the issue with baseless allegations,” Denenberg said.

He added that his office informs all donors that their contributions are not tax-deductible, and said that he was proud that he had secured community revitalization funds for the fire departments.

“I absolutely got money for them, and every legislator has followed suit,” Denenberg said. “They got money from me for equipment … But there’s no quid pro quo. I have no idea what the tax status and liability is of contributors.”

Democratic spokesman Michael Florio said that Republican legislators have taken campaign funds from local nonprofits, including fire departments and Little Leagues. “If Mangano wants to move forward with an investigation into contributions from fire departments,” Florio said, “then he’ll have to investigate members of his own party as well.”

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