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State Officials Looking Into Possible Payola Between Nassau Exec, Tree Company

Looks Great Service Donated $17K To Mangano's Re-Election Campaign

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – New York State’s attorney general has launched an investigation into a contract awarded by Nassau County to a tree removal company.

CBS 2 was first to report resident outrage in Nassau back in April when it appeared hundreds of trees were chopped down unnecessarily after Sandy and replanted at great taxpayer expense.

“There was some type of financial motive here because the more they cut, the more they got paid,” Manhasset resident John Vlahakis told CBS 2 in April.

“A lot people here, they’re not satisfied,” another Nassau resident said.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, one of the tree cutting companies was Looks Great Service based in Huntington.

The company has a whopping $70 million contract with Nassau for debris removal, CBS 2 has learned.

AG Eric Schneiderman has just subpoenaed records to determine if there was any quid pro quo between the tree company and County Executive Ed Mangano.

It has been revealed that Looks Great has contributed $17,000 to the Republican’s re-election campaign.

“The Nassau Democrats are up to their old tricks. This is just an effort by them to sling mud, to muddy the waters, because they know they can’t win on the issues,” Nassau Republican Committee spokesman Anthony Santino told McLogan.

Nassau Republicans told McLogan they are outraged at the mere mention of payola.

“I don’t suspect there’s any wrongdoing here,” said one resident.

“I wouldn’t call it corruption, I would call it a good choice,” another voter told McLogan.

Looks Great denies any impropriety, saying in a statement:

“Looks Great became an emergency vendor…under the last Democratic administration…the idea that contributions it made years later to a Republican candidate had anything to do with receiving this work is totally nonsensical.”

CBS 2 independently confirmed that 23 Sandy contractors – including Looks Great – contributed $145,000 to Nassau’s Republican re-election campaign in the weeks after the storm.

Looks Great Service contracts are also being investigated by Nassau and Suffolk District Attorneys.

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