Former counsel: Venditto, Oyster Bay didn’t take loan advice

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Jonathan Sinnreich, the former outside legal counsel for the Town of Oyster Bay, was adamant on the stand Thursday regarding his opposition to the town backing restaurateur Harendra Singh’s personal loans.

He said the plan to use the town’s creditworthiness to back the personal loans would be at best “problematic” and at worst “illegal.”

VIDEO: Newsday's Joye Brown on Thursday's court proceedings in Mangano-Venditto trial 

Sinnreich testified Thursday in the Mangano-Venditto federal corruption trial that then-Town Supervisor John Venditto presided over an April 2010 meeting at his North Massapequa campaign headquarters to discuss the possibility of backing a $1.5 million loan for Singh.

Sinnreich says he did not realize until the meeting that the town brought in a second set of outside counsel, Bill Cornachio and Bill Savino from the firm Rivkin Radler, to consider the issue as well.

Sinnreich testified that despite voicing his objections, “the supervisor made very general remarks. He wanted the people, primarily the lawyers, to try and find a way around this problem."

MORE: Outside counsel warned Oyster Bay officials against backing Singh’s loans

Cornachio testified earlier in the trial that he developed a legal workaround of the state law. Sinnreich testified he didn’t’ think the deal “would survive scrutiny.”

Venditto served as town attorney for years before becoming supervisor in 1998. Sinnreich seemed to indicate that he respected the supervisor's legal acumen.

"He's a very smart lawyer and a very smart man, and we often had discussions where he showed his knowledge of the law," Sinnreich testified.

The town ultimately backed Singh's loan and many others – totaling nearly $20 million. Shortly after Singh's arrest in 2015, Standard and Poor's dropped Oyster Bay Town's credit rating to "junk bond status."

VIDEO: Newsday's Nicole Fuller on Sinnreich's testimony

Also on the stand Thursday was a graphic artist named Lisa Graham, who says she worked for Singh's company from 2007 until 2010. Graham testified that she never even knew Linda Mangano was employed by Singh, even though their job descriptions overlapped – at least on paper.

The prosecution alleges that Singh provided Linda Mangano with a no-show job as a way of bribing her husband Ed Mangano, who was the Nassau County executive candidate.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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