A federal judge has pushed the trial of outgoing Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto back to March, after a request from Venditto.
In a letter to Judge Joan Azrack on Nov. 29, Venditto’s attorney requested the two-month delay in order for more time to prepare for trial, after Venditto was hit with additional charges in a Nov. 21 superseding indictment.
Mangano and Venditto both face numerous corruption charges, including kickbacks, bribery, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents. Mangano’s wife is also charged with making false statements, and Venditto now faces additional securities fraud charges.
Both men were arrested and charged in October 2016. Mangano allegedly got free vacations and other gifts — including a $450,000 “no show” salary for his wife — in exchange for awarding county contracts to restaurateur Harendra Singh.
According to prosecutors, Mangano and Venditto, immediately after the January 2010 election, began to solicit and receive bribes and kickbacks from the restaurateur in exchange for official actions on an “as-needed” basis, and as opportunities arose for the restaurateur.
Venditto allegedly also provided Singh with indirect Town guarantees on loans worth more than $20 million, between June 2010 and June 2012. Mangano used his influence, according to prosecutors, to advise and pressure Venditto into guaranteeing the loans, after Mangano spoke with Singh and assured him that “it will get done.”
Mangano, according to the court papers, allegedly awarded lucrative contracts to the restaurateur from late 2011 to December 2012, including one contract to provide bread and rolls to the Nassau County Correctional Center, which Mangano promised Singh he would be awarded.
All defendants have pleaded not guilty, and Mangano called the charges “ridiculous,” after his arraignment last year.
After a status conference on Dec. 5, Judge Azrack agreed to reschedule the trial from Jan. 12 to March 12. Azrack noted that March 12 was a “firm” trial date, and that motions from Mangano and Venditto on the superseding indictment will be due on Jan. 5.