MINEOLA - One day after the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) voted to take control of Nassau's finances, County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) says he plans to file a lawsuit questioning the state watchdog's legitimacy.

Mangano says if the courts uphold NIFA's decision, it would force an increase in property taxes. NIFA members, however, deny this claim.

It's also possible that NIFA could take the additional step of declaring a fiscal emergency, which would allow the watchdog to freeze the wages of thousands of union workers.

Hofstra School of Law professor Larry Levy says the county's economic crisis presents a real opportunity to fix Nassau's longtime structural economic problems.

"This has been an ongoing game of chicken," Levy says.

Nassau County has until Feb. 15 to eliminate various items that NIFA has deemed unacceptably risky from the 2011 budget. If that doesn't happen, NIFA says it might take upon itself to modify the county's budget.

Nassau County keeps control of its budget