Nassau: Takeover sullied by conflict of interest

MINEOLA - Nassau County says the state watchdog group looking to takeover its finances has a conflict of interest.

Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) accuses Ronald Stack, chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA), of having a conflict of interest because he's the managing director of Wells Fargo, where Schmitt says Nassau County keeps $80 million.

NIFA says Schmitt's statements are inaccurate and misleading. It supplied News 12 Long Island a copy of an e-mail from the state ethics agency saying Stack "may continue" to serve on the NIFA board while employed by the bank.

Schmitt says he plans to hold legislative hearings next month to begin a probe into the NIFA takeover.

Late today, Nassau County officials filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of NIFA's vote to take control of county finances.

Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli told TheAssociated Press the suit was filed in state Supreme Court inMineola. It questions whether the Nassau Interim Finance Authoritywas within its purview last week when it voted to take control of the county's finances.

AP wire services were used in this report.

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