Federal prosecutors on Tuesday produced a series of 2010 emails they allege depict former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and former County Executive Ed Mangano’s alleged efforts to work around laws and guarantee loans to a local restaurateur.
Venditto and Mangano are both facing corruption charges around their relationship with the restaurateur Harendra Singh, to which they have pleaded not guilty.
The loans for which Singh sought Town of Oyster Bay guarantees included a $1.5 million line of credit from Madison National Bank and a $12.3 million loan from NDH Capital Corp., according to prosecutors.
In a series of emails exchanged on April 7, 2010, between former Town of Oyster Bay deputy attorney Fred Mei and Jonathan Sinnreich, of Sinnreich, Kosakoff & Messina, Sinnreich raised legal concerns with Venditto’s plan to guarantee Singh’s loans.
“Bottom line: I don’t see how the town can possibly guaranty an open-ended general-purpose line of credit for H’s business,” Sinnreich wrote.
Mei responded, in one of the emails, that Singh, and the bank, were “very willing to make changes to the guaranty, as long as it sticks to the ‘H fails, Town pays’ theme.
Prosecutors said in court papers that Sinnreich is expected to testify at Mangano and Venditto’s trial.
“Almost immediately after” Sinnreich counseled Venditto and Mei against directly guaranteeing loans for Singh, because of state law, Mangano stepped in with his former law firm to find a workaround, prosecutors alleged in accompanying court papers.
During Mangano’s discussions with Singh, prosecutors alleged, Singh told Mangano that they needed the help of an attorney who would “say yes” to the guarantees. Mangano assured Singh that “it would get done,” and both he and Venditto took kickbacks from Singh in exchange for their help, according to prosecutors.
On April 28, 2010, according to prosecutors, Venditto, Mangano, Singh and others all met at Venditto’s North Massapequa campaign office to “hash out” how to get around state law and guarantee the loans.
After the meeting, prosecutors allege, Mangano’s former firm, Rivkin Radler, advised Venditto and Mei to indirectly guarantee the loans through amendments to agreements the town had with Singh’s business entities.
Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to admit the 2010 email chain as evidence, as well as a number of redacted documents and emails for which attorney-client privilege has been asserted.
Mangano and Venditto have maintained their innocence, and Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating, said, in a statement published in Newsday, that Mangano had “no role in the lawful decision to have Rivkin review the matter,” and the allegation that Mangano pressured the town to amend their agreement with Singh is “a total fiction.”
Mangano and Venditto are scheduled to go to trial in March.