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Calendar of Events
Last Updated: October 25th, 2016
The following articles - and more - can be found in our print edition:
Lavine Gets $125K for Sea Cliff FD
The tudor revival style FD. Photo by Christine Loring
Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine (D-North Shore LI) is pleased to announce that he has secured $125,000 in state funding for the Village of Sea Cliff. The funds are to be used for the restoration of the Tudor revival style Fire Department which was built in 1931.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide funding through my office for the Sea Cliff Fire Department’s renovation”
said Lavine. Funds will be used to refurbish the steel casement windows in the 85 year old structure. The rehabilitation must be within the guidelines of historic landmark specifications for the building is on the National Register of historic places.
“Sea Cliff village is truly a special place that has been successful at preserving its history. The fire department is just one example of several buildings that have maintained the small town charm that makes this quaint village so distinct” said Lavine.
“The fire department building is one of the historic jewels of our village. The cost of restoring these windows as opposed to replacing them would place a tremendous financial burden on the community. We are very grateful to Assemblymember Lavine for securing significant financial assistance in this project.” Mayor Bruce Kennedy said.
In the past, Assemblymember Lavine has provided the village with state funds that were used toward the construction of the boardwalk and restoration of the sidewalk and railing as well as the design and construction of the sewer line. This grant will come through the State and Municipal Facilities Program and will be directed to the village.
Legal Experts Question Charges
Legal experts have raised questions about the charges against Oyster Bay Super-visor John Venditto, challenging both the sufficiency and motivation for the indictment. Venditto, age 67, was arrested last Thursday, together with County Executive Edward Mangano and Mangano’s wife, Linda Mangano, on charges stemming from their relationship to restauranteur Harendra Singh.
Venditto who has had a reputation as a hard-working and straight shooting elected official in his 18 years as Town Supervisor, was charged with taking “bribes” -- a taxi ride, periodically using Singh’s office space, and food discounts for political fundraisers -- in exchange for town contracts, by Robert Capers, the Obama-appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“This indictment was made under “Honest Services” law which requires a clear showing of ‘official acts’ as a ‘quid pro quo’ for ‘actual bribes’ - things of real value - to the bribed official. The so-called bribes listed in the Venditto Indictment are a joke, why not charge him for having a free cup of coffee,” stated Asher Kashanian, one of America’s leading civil rights attorneys. “No money changed hands. This is what criminal law experts call a ‘garbage indictment’ likely to be dismissed by the Courts.”
“Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held, meaning both liberal and conservative judges agreed, that the Obama Department of Justice had improperly prosecuted Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell under honest services. You don’t get a lot of unanimous rulings by the Supreme Court, so it says a lot about the bad conduct of the Obama Justice Department,” concluded Kashanian.
Other legal experts questioned Capers’ motivations for criminally indicting Venditto. Capers has been suing Venditto under a housing discrimination claim, seeking to force more low income housing into the Town of Oyster Bay, which Venditto has opposed.
“At best, this has the appearance of a conflict of interest, and Capers should have recused himself from the criminal case. At worst, this indictment is purely politically motivated to stop Venditto from opposing the housing discrimination claim, and is an abuse of power,” stated leading tax and constitutional attorney Mark Demetropoulos. “Things like the taxi ride allegedly received by Venditto are ‘de minimus’ and would not be deemed ‘things of value’ under the Internal Revenue Code, so how do they suddenly become ‘bribes’ under the criminal law?”
“Either way, Capers is in violation of the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual in bringing these charges two weeks before an election in which a member of Venditto’s family, his son, Sen. Michael Venditto, is running for election. Typically, the U.S. Department of Justice strives to avoid giving the appearance of or influencing the outcome of an election, here the opposite has occurred, and that is bad for our system of justice and our democracy,” noted Demetropoulos.