Ex-Long Island officials indicted for conspiracy, fraud

- Former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and six others were escorted to court in handcuffs after they surrendered to the Nassau County District Attorney's Office Thursday morning.

"It's troubling that these officials in every transaction that we saw, the conversations we heard their sole purpose was effectuating this deal for themselves, for their friends," District Attorney Madeline Singas said. "And the interest of the taxpayer was never considered."

Aside from Venditto, who was charged last year in the federal corruption case with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, others named in the indictment include his former public works and parks commissioners, his campaign manager, an employee with the highway department, and a couple connected to the town. Charges include conspiracy, defrauding the government, and misconduct.

Singas said the investigation "uncovered evidence of bribery, money laundering, a crooked multimillion-dollar property deal, rampant nepotism, and illegal favors to family and friends of those in power in Oyster Bay government."

Venditto's lawyer, Josh Kirshner, said, "He plans to fight these charges and we're confident he will prevail."

The indictment also named former Oyster Bay planning commissioner Frederick Ippolito, who died a few weeks ago while serving a prison sentence for tax evasion. Investigators said Ippolito orchestrated a hiring and firing of an employee to benefit his personal life. His attorney said the accusation is unfair.

"I think it's unfortunate and I think it's wrong," attorney Dan Russo said. "The case will be abated by death in the next date."

After court-appointed Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino responded to the political corruption, his Democratic opponent took the spotlight asking him to step down.

"Let me be clear: we will terminate the town's relationship with anyone associated with corruption or wrongdoing," Saladino said.

Depending on the individual charges, if convicted they can face anywhere from a year up to 15 years in jail. They pleaded not guilty and were released without bail. They are due back in court on September 26. 

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