Focus shifts to Oyster Bay loan guarantees in Mangano-Venditto trial

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

The Mangano-Venditto federal corruption trial shifted its focus Wednesday to the Town of Oyster Bay, as a former managing partner of an influential Nassau law firm took the stand.

William Savino was Ed Mangano’s former boss at Rivkin Radler before Mangano was elected county executive in 2009.

Earlier in the trial, Harendra Singh testified that Mangano asked Savino and Rivkin Radler to offer an outside legal opinion for the Town of Oyster Bay that would allow the municipality to guarantee his personal loans.

VIDEO: Newsday's Andrew Smith on prosecution's new witnesses

Savino testified that he didn't remember a conversation with Mangano, but acknowledged that his notes indicated the county executive did make that request.

He also acknowledged participating in an April 2010 meeting at a storefront identified earlier in the trial as Venditto's campaign headquarters.

Savino said he could not remember if Mangano or Venditto were in the room. In fact, he could not name one member of Oyster Bay Town government who was present.

Singh testified earlier in the trial that the meeting was attended by Mangano, Venditto and others, and proved pivotal in securing the town's guarantee for a $1.5 million loan.

Savino routinely struggled to remember the specifics of the work his firm had done with the town concerning that loan – drawing some laughs and eye rolls during his testimony.

The former Rivkin Radler partner did acknowledge that an invoice presented as evidence showed that the firm played a role in the closing of the loan. Oyster Bay would ultimately guarantee nearly $20 million in Singh's personal loans.

After the restaurateur's arrest in 2015, Standard & Poor's soon dropped the town's pristine credit rating to junk bond status.

Savino said Bill Cornachio, another partner at Rivkin Radler, primarily handled the firm's work on the initial Oyster Bay loan guarantee. Cornachio is expected to be called to the stand as early as Thursday.

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