Venditto’s attorney questions Singh for second day

<p>The cross-examination of Harendra Singh continued Wednesday, mentioning names of other elected officials in the corruption trial of former Nassau Executive Ed Mangano, his wife Linda and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.</p>

News 12 Staff

Apr 4, 2018, 4:01 PM

Updated 2,238 days ago

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The cross-examination of Harendra Singh continued Wednesday, mentioning names of other elected officials in the corruption trial of former Nassau Executive Ed Mangano, his wife Linda and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.
Among the new developments, Singh claimed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used his influence to try and help him secure a lease extension at his Long Island City restaurant, Water's Edge.
Singh said he first began meeting with de Blasio in 2011, when the latter was the city's public advocate. He said he eventually became a major fundraiser and campaign bundler for the mayor.
"He was always asking for money for himself," Singh said.
Singh went on to testify that he told de Blasio about a plan to bypass campaign finance laws, then quoted the mayor as saying "I don't want to know what you have to do."
He said he met de Blasio through Tom Garry, a lawyer and the vice chairman of the Nassau Democratic Committee. Through Garry, Singh said he attended political fundraisers for de Blasio and Hillary Clinton at the home of Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacbos.
Tom Garry and his brother Bill Garry are both lawyers at the firm Harris Beach, which Singh said helped him secure millions of dollars in loans from the Town of Oyster Bay.
Responding to a second day of questioning from Venditto's attorney Marc Agnifilo, Singh said that some of the loan money guaranteed to him by the Town of Oyster Bay in 2010 was controversial because it was unclear whether the town could guarantee a personal loan at the time.
He also said that outside counsel had told the town it could not do so according to the state constitution. He went on to testify that the town got a second opinion from a law firm connected to Mangano, which justified the loan.
But Agnifilo got Singh to admit that the law firm never actually wrote an opinion letter on that loan -- and in fact refused to write an opinion letter on a subsequent smaller loan.
To meet a bank requirement, Singh said turned to the Harris Beach law firm, whose services he paid for himself even though he said the firm was representing itself as outside counsel for the town.
He also said he never directly spoke with Venditto about securing the loans. He said that he had spoken to a deputy town supervisor believing that Venditto would be privy to those conversations.
And Singh said he asked an employee to forge Venditto's name on loan documents in 2014, but insisted he did not alter the terms or forge signatures on previous loan paperwork.
Singh had earlier testified that he had a quid pro quo relationship with Mangano in which he provided the former executive favors to keep his various restaurant businesses afloat.
After more than three weeks on the stand, the defense for each defendant has tried to undercut Singh’s credibility, submitting emails and wiretapped conversations.
The defense has said that Singh will say anything to stay out of jail. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2016.
The trial resumes Thursday.


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