DiLuzio, who said he has known Bonilla for many years, added that he presumes the case will go to trial because, from what Bonilla has told him and what he has heard, he believes Bonilla is innocent. DiLuzio said he did not think Murray’s call for Bonilla’s resignation was fair or thought out, and that the clerk should be able to do his job in spite of the case.
“I expect, all things being equal, he will go back to work and continue to serve his constituency,” DiLuzio said. “It shouldn’t be any other way.”
Bonilla did not report to Town Hall on Monday. However, DiLuzio said that according to one of Bonilla’s employees, the clerk would not have been able to enter his office because the locks were changed. That was confirmed by town spokeswoman Susie Trenkle-Pokalsky, who said the locks were changed after Bonilla’s arrest to secure the contents of his office. Before 9 a.m. on Monday, a Public Safety officer was stationed at the office to provide Bonilla with a new key if he returned to work that day. Town officials confirmed that he returned to work on Tuesday.
Bonilla and Murray are both Republicans, and ran for re-election together as recently as last year. But in the wake of the charges, Bonilla found no allies. Five fellow Republicans, including town board members Angie Cullin, James Darcy, Gary Hudes and Anthony Santino and Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin, stood with Murray as she called on Bonilla to resign — as did Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, a Democrat.
Bonilla, a Bellmore resident, was the first Hispanic elected to office in the Town of Hempstead. He is also an attorney.
DiLuzio said that Bonilla will not be speaking publicly about the charges and plans to “go on with his life” until his court date next month. On a Facebook page in his name, Bonilla has responded to messages of support. “All I ask is that people keep their minds open that the allegations may be false,” he wrote. “Because they are.”
Responding to the call to resign from his fellow town officials, Bonilla wrote, “It’s truly sad to see friends attack you. I certainly don’t intend on letting them win. Party politics is ugly but I’m a fighter and will fight to the end.”