HAUPPAUGE - Suffolk is still reeling tonight from County Executive Steve Levy's bombshell announcement that he will not run for re-election in November.
Levy issued a press release yesterday saying he would not seek a third term because of his desire to "tackle other challenges."
Following Levy's announcement, District Attorney Tom Spota released a statement saying the county executive was turning over his $4 million campaign fund. Spota said, "This action was taken by him to resolve a sixteen-month investigation conducted by the Government Corruption Bureau which began in the summer of 2009."
Those who donated money to Levy's campaign will be able to recover it. Whatever is left will be donated to charity.
Spota said that while he found "serious issues" with Levy's fundraising, he did not ask for Levy's resignation and would not prosecute him.
Mike Cornacchia, a former federal prosecutor, says political corruption cases are among the toughest to get a conviction. He says prosecutors may have simply concluded a conviction in this case wasn't likely.
"I think what Tom Spota did was the right thing by not imposing his will on the electorate who has elected this man," Cornacchia says.
While Levy is expected to leave in December, some political observers are already looking to the future, saying that Levy's decision will change the way Suffolk's government does business.
Suffolk Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who ran against Levy for county executive in 2003, even suggests it might be better for Levy to resign now to avoid further complications.
However, Levy's Chief Deputy County Executive Chris Kent, who would succeed Levy under the county's charter, says an immediate resignation is not a possibility. Still, political experts are already floating names of Republicans and Democrats who may be vying for Levy's seat.
Without Levy's aggressive style of governing, some say power could shift back to the Legislature.
To watch LI Talks: No Third Term for Levy, tune into iO Channel 612.
Suffolk County Executive Levy will not seek third termStatement of Suffolk County Executive Steve LevyStatement of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota
INTERVIEW: Democratic Strategist Chris Hahn on Levy's announcement