Singh testifies on alleged no-show job for Mangano's wife

The prosecution's star witness was back on the stand today in the federal corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife Linda, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto.
Restaurateur Harendra Singh testified this morning that Linda Mangano was uniquely qualified to serve as his company's director of marketing for just one reason -- because "she was the county executive's wife."
Singh described Linda Mangano's position as a no-show job where she was expected to contribute nothing. He said despite being the second-highest paid employee in his company, the then-executive's wife didn't have a company email address or business card, because there was never any reason to contact her.
Singh said the arrangement began in 2010 at Ed Mangano's request.
"Ed asked us to hire her. We expected that she's not gonna do anything," Singh testified. "Ed asked us to give her $100,000 per year, and we agreed."
Singh said there was a reason for his generosity -- he says the job was a bribe. Singh said he needed Ed Mangano to lobby on his behalf, because his business required loans. So he said he asked Mangano to contact then-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, who Singh said allowed for the town to guarantee the loans. When the town's outside counsel said the deal violated the state constitution, Singh said he sought Mangano's help again.
According to Singh, the county executive then reached out to his old law firm, Rivkin Radler, which quickly was able to find a justification for the loan. The town then used that new legal opinion to approve the guarantee, and Singh acquired nearly $20 million in loans.
MORE: Prosecutor: Mangano, Venditto ‘earned their keep’ for bribes, kickbacks
But in August of 2014, Singh said the FBI came knocking, and agents raided his office, executed a search warrant and seized documents. He said that spelled the end for Linda Mangano's no-show job.
Singh said he worried it would look bad, like hush money, or a bribe.
The prosecutor asked Singh directly in court, "Was it a bribe?"
Singh responded, "Yes."
The prosecutor then asked what the bribe was for, and Singh responded, "To get any favors, either in Nassau County or the town of Oyster Bay."
Singh said he mostly worked with Deputy Town Supervisor Len Genova and deputy town attorney Fred Mei to hammer out the details of the loan agreements. But he insisted Venditto was well aware of the situation, saying that it’s his belief that Genova ran everything past the man he called "the boss."
The trial resumes tomorrow.