An Elmont man pleaded guilty on Monday to taking bribe money from Hempstead restaurant owners and delivering them to former Village Trustee Perry Pettus, who allegedly used his position of power to solicit more than $50,000 in bribes from Hispanic restaurant owners between February and May 2018.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Pettus used William Mendez, a 50-year-old from Elmont who owned a bar and restaurant in the area, as an intermediary with Hispanic restaurateurs by threatening to have summonses issues against them, which would jeopardize their business’ cabaret and liquor licenses and put them out of business.
In return, she said, Pettus used his authority to “fix tickets” for one of Mendez’s employees.
“William Mendez tormented numerous Hispanic-owned businesses with the threat of ticket blitzes and closures if they didn’t pay bribes to him and former Village of Hempstead Trustee Perry Pettus,” Singas said in a statement. “Small, family-owned businesses are the backbone of our communities, and these defendants exploited immigrant owners simply out of personal greed.”
Mendez is charged with two counts of bribe-receiving in the second degree, two counts of grand larceny in the second degree by means of extortion, conspiracy in the fourth degree, as well as two counts of tampering with public records in the second degree and conspiracy in the first degree.
He is expected to be sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in prison, and is due back in court on May 17.
Pettus, meanwhile, was sentenced to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison in 2020.