Nassau OEM food contract at issue in Mangano-Venditto trial

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Another restaurant executive testified in the federal corruption trial of two former leading Nassau politicians and one of their wives Thursday.

The trial against former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife Linda and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto is in its seventh week.

Chris Seidl, the executive chef of the Dover Group, testified that immediately after Superstorm Sandy, the Nassau Office of Emergency Management sought food for workers and displaced residents from his company.

The Dover Group -- founded by Butch Yamali, who also took the stand -- had a county vendor contract and was approved to work in an emergency capacity.

Seidl said he left the meeting thinking he would get the contract to provide meals for emergency workers. But the Dover Group did not reach a deal with the OEM. 

Harendra Singh did.

"I fulfilled my contract and my obligations, so why wouldn't they give it to me?" Yamali asked. "I just didn't understand."

Yamali said the county told him his food service was unnecessary and that he didn't find out until last year that Singh got the contract instead.

The question for the jury is, did Mangano help Singh get that contract in exchange for bribes and kickbacks that Singh has admitted to paying?

Upon cross examination, one of Mangano's defense attorneys, Matt Brissenden, pointed out that Singh's restaurant is in Bethpage, same as the OEM. Yamali's closest location was in Plainview.

Many Long Islanders recognize that they are neighboring communities, but some members of the jury could be from as far away as Staten Island.

So Yamali clarified the distances.

"If you have the proper equipment, you can carry the food 150 miles," he said. "It doesn't matter." 

The trial will continue next week, when former Oyster Bay Deputy Town Supervisor Len Genova is expected to testify.

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