Seventeen months ago, when their indictment was unsealed in the United States Attorney’s Eastern District, John Venditto and Ed and Linda Mangano faced the full prosecutorial weight of the United States government.
So far, the score is private citizens 2, U.S. 0.
On May 31, exactly a week after a jury cleared Venditto, the former Town of Oyster Bay supervisor, of all federal charges, U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack declared a mistrial in the government case against the Manganos.
This came after jury foreman Marc Tambassopoulos of Hicksville handed the judge a note that day stating that he could no longer carry out his duties and wishing to be excused. Reportedly, the jury was deadlocked over the charges against the Manganos.
Azrack set a date of June 28 to hold a conference to schedule a new trial for the former county executive and his wife, Bethpage residents.
The government’s case centered on the relationship between the three accused and restaurateur/concessionaire Harendra Singh of Locust Valley. Singh, who held concessions at the Town of Oyster Bay golf course and its two beaches, was accused of bribing the then elected officials in exchange for loan guarantees in Oyster Bay, as well as contracts with the county government. He pleaded guilty to bribery charges and became a prosecution witness.
The indictment unsealed on Oct. 20, 2016 and announced by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Robert Capers and representatives from both the FBI and the IRS, charged Ed Mangano and Venditto with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest services fraud. Mangano was also charged with extortion while the government later added a securities fraud charge against Venditto. In addition, all three were accused of obstructing justice, and Linda Mangano and Venditto with making false statements to the FBI. Linda Mangano reportedly was given a “no-show” job by Singh at her husband’s behest. Between April 2010 and August 2014, the government claimed, she earned $450,000. All three pleaded not guilty.
In addition, the accused and their families were given free meals at Singhs’ numerous eateries, free limousine rides, vacations paid by Singh and even, in the case of Mangano’s son, a watch that cost Singh more than $7,000.
Mangano was county executive from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2017. Venditto was first elected supervisor in 1997 and won his last election in 2015. He stepped down on Jan. 3, 2017.
The trial began on March 14 and featured 60 witnesses and more than 1,100 exhibits at the the Alphonse M. D’Amato U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip.
Jury deliberations began May 18.
In his closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said of the two elected officials, “They traded their office for money, plain and simple.”