North Hempstead Dems "Forced Out" New Comptroller
By Rupert Deedes
The Town of North Hempstead's new "bipartisan" Comptroller, Kristen Schwaner resigned after only four months on the job - resigning on August 18th - without explanation.
The Leader has now learned why: Schwaner resigned after the Town's Democrats applied political pressure on her, to try to force her to hire a politically-connected Democratic vendor, which she refused to hire as a "waste of money."
For over 15 months - during 2022 and early 2023 - North Hempstead had no Comptroller. The nominees proposed by Supervisor Jennifer DeSena (R) were voted down by the Democrats on the Town Board - who held a narrow 4 to 3 majority on the Board.
Finally, in April, 2023, the Republicans and Democrats agreed to a "bipartisan" selection of a neutral financial expert. Kristen Schwaner, who had over 15 years' experience in finance and accounting. Schwaner had worked at the Hauppauge-based Sight Growth Partners as their Vice President of Finance, and at Ernst & Young. She was appointed unanimously by the Town Board.
But then the Town Democrats' patronage-hungry politics took over.
On June 21st, Adam Haber - a Democratic Party activist, former Democratic candidate, and lobbyist - brought-in a favored "investment firm" called NYCLASS - to try to take over management of the Town's money receipts and investments.
Haber and the Town's Democrats - principally Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey (D-Great Neck) - met repeatedly with Schwaner to try to pressure her to hire the their favored investment firm.
When Schwaner declined to hire the Democrats' investment firm, the tone got ugly: The Democrats and NYCLASS tried to by-pass the Comptroller entirely, and have the Town Board force the Comptroller to hire the investment firm.
This Democrat "power-move" was confirmed in a July 13th internal e-mail - which the Leader has obtained.
The Town Supervisor, Jennifer DeSena rejected the attempt to by-pass the Comptroller, and in a July 14th e-mail, DeSena explained, "It is my understanding Comptroller Schwaner recommended against entering into an agreement with NYCLASS - as the costs clearly outweighed the benefits."
At that point, Lurvey and the Town's Democrats apparently decided that Schwaner "had to go" - and began treating her with menace and hostility. Schwaner had always worked in the private sector, where the kind of petty political "freeze-outs" like that conducted by Lurvey and her colleagues would not be tolerated.
Schwaner confided in the Town's Counsel to the Supervisor, Charles McQuair - and several others - about the improper political patronage pressure she was under from the Democrats - and then resigned.