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Manorhaven Mayor: Shining 'A Bright Light on The People's Money'

The newly elected mayor on recent steps taken by the village.

Editor’s Note: The following op-ed from is in response to a letter that the current says was sent to the Port Washington News. Some background on this op-ed was provided at Thursday’s board meeting, when the board approved a number of resolutions, including new procurement and credit card policies in the spirit transparency and in response to a . Also discussed at the meeting was a settlement with Anthony Soldano for $80,000, up from an original claim of $27,000. That settlement, too, is explained in this op-ed.

For some, loss is a painful, bitter pill to swallow. Former Trustee Jim Avena’s polemic in last week’s Letters to the Editor, claiming that “Manorhaven is headed down the wrong path…..”  has to be viewed in the light it was written: to deflect from the horrendous realty that the Village’s finances were in total and complete disarray. 

Mr. Avena seeks to redeem his reputation (and quasi political career) after a resounding electoral defeat. Manorhaven’s finances were an utter disaster, with unbalanced account books, irreconciled account statements, no coherent policy on spending, credit cards issued to so-called “government” officials, and checks written to vendors who stopped providing services, in some cases, months ago.

An absolute and gross waste of tax payer dollars.  Indeed, on July 2nd, the day the new administration took control, not one person in Village could tell us a balance in any of the Village bank accounts. 

We found piles of fed-ex and manila envelopes with tax checks from banks that hold the mortgages of our citizens, thrown aside like a piece of paper trash. Our system was registering late fees and penalties (what is called Dunning Letters) for delinquent tax payments, when all along the money was under the Clerk’s desk, hundreds of thousands of dollars carelessly thrown aside; a breach of the most basic and fundamental of the Village’s duty to its resident citizens.

Mr. Avena’s written diatribe is also full of lies and distortions.  The case of the Village business owner Anthony Soldano is a perfect analogy. Mr. Soldano had leased garage space to the Village under the Capozzi Administration. It was discovered that Village officials may have caused damage to the property when the Village occupied it. An agreement was proposed by the Village and accepted for $27,000, signed by both parties, and approved by the then Board of Trustees. Then, for no other reason than to “stick-it” to Mr. Soldano, the past administration refused to honor its signed Settlement Agreement. Now, the Village was exposed and severely compromised. A Settlement Agreement is binding, very binding, and an admission of liability. You just can’t walk away from it because it may suit your vindictive nature. To now have to defend this purposeful breach and spend countless thousands of Village dollars, was in the advice of the village attorney, not a prudent use of Village funds.  From the beginning, Mr. Soldano’s claim was legitimate, so the decision was made to settle this case and wipe the slate clean.  This expenditure is just another example of how the prior administrations governed this Village.  

Let’s talk unsophistication, Mr. Avena, shall we. The recent audit by the Office of the New York State Comptroller found that prior administrations of Meehan and Di Leo’s were “poor stewards of the Village’s finances.” They violated competitive bidding practices, which could have saved the Village money, had no control over three (3) Village credits cards, now all cancelled, and no formal credit card policy, where the Comptroller’s office found that “72% of all credit card purchases had no receipts substantiating the charges.”  What was the money used for? The citizens would like to know.  In addition, Village Justice bank deposits required to be deposited in most cases within 72 hours of their receipt, were often deposited days or even weeks later.  If the Village were a private corporation, it would have closed down.

Once we took over, we took immediate action. We fired the accountant and retained Rosen & Federico, a highly experienced team of CPA’s and forensic accountants to dig in and fix this mess. Robert Rosen and his associate Ryan Jablonski have spent weeks at Village Hall reconciling our accounts and inputting what the Village receives and properly balancing the books.  Never again will checks go un-deposited, bank statements left irrreconciled, and nor will expenditures be made to phantom, non-performing vendors. Accountability, integrity and honesty are what govern this administration. This is the people’s money, not the personal elixir for government officials, Mr. Avena.

Writing editorials for the sole purpose of pulling the wool over the eyes of our residents, is nothing more than an attempt to justify the unjustifiable. What we uncovered demonstrates an unsophistication on an unprecedented level. In this instance, malfeasance would be a compliment. 

Mayor Giovanna Giunta took office July 2. 

Donatto August 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM
What Mayor Giunta has neglected to mention is that the checks were piling up because of her inexperience and not knowing how to deposit them. Afterall she fired everyone in Village hall and then didn't have a clue what to do next. This is what happens when you have zero experience! I suggest to FOIL the bank deposits to HSBC. They will clearly show that all checks were deposited in a timley fashion, except for the timeframe that Mayor Giunta took office. Note: Tax payments and Justice Court are seperate payments and the Justice Court Clerk is still employed by the Village. Contracts & Agreements?? The payment to Soldano should have been paid months ago. However $80,000??? This is the Village Attorney negotiating down from what figure? The extra's should have be voted upon by the board! The Mayor is picking and choosing! How about the Sewer contract? The Mayor just cant walk away from THIS binding contract either!!. Now, the Village is exposed and severely compromised! How much more will this cost the Village in Legal Fees? If her main objective as Mayor is to bankrupt the Village because of damages resulting from lawsuits while lining the pockets of her political backers, she is off to a fantastic start. Its official, you are now a true politician!! Good Gob Madam Mayor!
Port North Resident August 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Oh please I don't even live in Manorhaven but it is public knowledge how poorly the village was run under the Meehan admonistration, Mayor Guinta has even been there 60 days let her finish her first 100 days at least, prior to critizing. She seems like she is on the right track!
pw native August 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
@ Donatto ,Thank God she fired everyone from the past administration look at THEIR past record . It was all caused by Meehan and Dileo read the state audit!! Shes doing the rt thing ! Experience? shes done more to clean house than anyone involved with Mehan and Dileo Administration has ever done . I was at the meeting and clearly heard the CPA and Attorney discribe the mess the past administration lft behind!!! Out with the old and in with the new !
pw native August 26, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Donatto must be involved with past administration ?? Blaming her is outrageous! What about all the reckless credit card spending from the former Mayor Meehan and Dileo providing receipts . I guess the state audit lied?...........give me a break!!
David August 26, 2012 at 04:28 AM
When do we get to look at the mess Kaiman and company are creating in North Hrmpstead? What they are doing there is much much worse than has been discoverd in Manorhaven
Fact over Fiction August 26, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Its really obvious that you really dont know what you are writing about. You go onto these websites and blog complete BS. Lets concentrate on the $80,000 payment to Madam Giunta's #1 supporter and $29,000 to a local plumber (#2 supporter) for mark outs that would been done for free. Ever hear of "Call before you Dig"? its a free service. How about the cell tower.......What happens when the Judge grants AG Towers the right to pursue DAMAGES against the Village. This will cost TENS OF MILLIONS of Dollars and ultimately bankrupt the Village!!! Why isn't she ripping down the cell tower like she demanded prior to her becoming Mayor. I guess its not that easy! I ask you not to bankrupt the Village and not to "Cell US OUT"!!!
Donatto August 26, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I give Noelle credit for resigning and not going along with Madam Giunta's corruption. Noelle had the guts to say NO to participate in any of her schemes. Noelle for Mayor 2014!!
pw native August 26, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Donatto Madam Giunta is not currupt maybe your confused with how the last administration ran??? Noelle for Mayor? Do you mean Pagano for Mayor? Out with the old and in with the new!!!
pw native August 26, 2012 at 08:14 PM
@ fact over fiction wasnt DEJANA Meehans , Dileos and Avenas biggest supporter?? and to correct myself There was reckless spending with NO receipts.
pw native August 26, 2012 at 08:18 PM
@ donatto it was even mention at the meeting Rita voted in favor of the settlement !!!i What about the past administration not following the bid process and giving work to the TONH ???What about Giving garbage contracts and garbage to their biggest supporter???
alex wong August 27, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Donatto AKA CLAIR
alex wong August 27, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Clair 1st of all figure who side you are really on becouse we see you all the time talking to the past administration and then telling the other side everything we say to you so we got your #. 2nd use your real name becouse everything you say you said to us and we remember. so haha to you.
alex wong August 27, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Clair your a complete train wreck why dont you stop attacking the Mayor & Anthony and worry about taking care of your son plus by the way get a job. Face the Mayor and Anthony and stop hiding behind your computer your a complete disgrace. I told them everything you told me so they know its you writing this garbage !!!!!!!!!!
Stick to the issues August 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Its really obvious that you really dont know what you are writing about. You go onto these websites and blog complete BS. Lets concentrate on the $80,000 payment to Madam Giunta's #1 supporter and $29,000 to a local plumber (#2 supporter) for mark outs that would been done for free. Ever hear of "Call before you Dig"? its a free service. How about the cell tower.......What happens when the Judge grants AG Towers the right to pursue DAMAGES against the Village. This will cost TENS OF MILLIONS of Dollars and ultimately bankrupt the Village!!! Why isn't she ripping down the cell tower like she demanded prior to her becoming Mayor. I guess its not that easy! I ask you not to bankrupt the Village and not to "Cell US OUT"!!!
Nicholas C August 27, 2012 at 08:27 PM
You have a brain the size of a pea on an eight lane highway! (and killing brain cells everyday, you idiot)
A Camp August 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
The lawsuit against AG towers will cost "TENS OF MILLIONS of Dollars and ultimately bankrupt the Village"? That is too funny. I've seen some absurd things posted before, but that one takes the cake. I've handled cell tower cases from all over the Country. There is a better chance that Elvis will be found alive playing poker with DB Cooper and several martians in a basement in Buffalo NY, than there being an outcome which costs the Village "tens of millions of dollars." As a general rule, where a cell tower owner wins their case, what they win is the right to keep their tower up. In Manorhaven, if the Village prevails in its lawsuit, AG towers will be able to keep their tower up, but only through the beginning of March 2013. As for the nonsensical suggestion that Manorhaven's financial sky is falling because of the lawsuit, chicken little should stop typing and find something better to do with his or her time.
Howard Blankman September 03, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Charles who?
Howard Blankman September 03, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Who is Charles and why is he relevant?
George Wittner September 21, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Why would a plumber giver 29,000 to a campaign?
Mr. Square Pants March 10, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Apparently the new thing for Giovanna and Trustee Steele is to sit silently on the board while their spouses shout down and smear anyone who dares to stand up and ask a question they don't want to answer. Like "why won't the village attorney respond to FOILs?"

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