Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife Linda were arrested Thursday morning in a bribery and kickback scheme involving a restaurateur — who paid Linda Mangano $450,000 for a no-show job as a “food taster,” authorities said.
Mangano and his family also were treated to free trips, including vacations in Niagara Falls, St. Thomas, and Turks and Caicos, officials said. On top of that, they allegedly received a $3,371.90 ergonomic office chair, a $3,623.73 massage chair from Brookstone, a $7,304 Panerai Luminor and hardwood flooring in the Manganos’ bedroom worth $3,701.81.
Oyster Bay’s town supervisor, John Venditto, also was implicated in the scheme, helping out restaurateur Harendra Singh with his business in exchange for being allowed to hold fundraisers at the businessman’s restaurants and given free limousine service, according to the feds and sources.
Ed Mangano walked out of his Bethpage home without handcuffs just before 7 a.m. and got into waiting vehicles, WABC reported.
“I will have a press statement for everybody later. I plan on giving my own press conference. Let’s see what they are saying and I will be happy to respond. That’s all I can say right now,” Mangano said.
Mangano and his wife, Linda, were expected to appear in federal court in Central Islip on Thursday, along with Oyster Bay supervisor, John Venditto.
A 13-count federal indictment alleges that Mangano, the highest-ranking elected official in Nassau County, and Venditto used their positions to help a federally indicted Long Island restaurant magnate Singh, who was identified by sources, to procure lucrative county contracts and loans guaranteed by the town of Oyster Bay.
In exchange, Mangano’s wife was paid $450,000 for a “no-show” job as a “food taster” at one of Singh’s restaurants, the feds allege.
“We allege that she was paid ostensibly to do nothing, and so she received a salary for a period of years that totaled $450,000,” US Attorney Robert Capers said at a press conference announcing the indictment.
Mangano and Venditto have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and honest services fraud. The Manganos and Venditto were also charged with obstructing justice for concocting fictitious stories with Singh in an effort to hide their dirty dealings.
Singh is assisting the feds in a probe into Mayor de Blasio’s campaign fundraising, the New York Times reported earlier Wednesday. It is unclear whether Singh is cooperating in the Mangano case.
Mangano is charged with honest-services fraud in connection with two Nassau County contracts that were given to Singh.
They involve the provision of bread and rolls to the Nassau County jail in June 2012, and the provision of $237,000 worth of food to workers in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, sources told Newsday.
Mangano, a Republican, was first elected county executive in 2009. He is up for re-election in 2017. He also served seven terms in the Nassau County Legislature.