BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There were new and tough questions for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano late Thursday, as he made his first public appearance Thursday since allegations of his involvement in a sexting scandal.
Nassau County police are investigating whether Mangano and local marketing executive Karin Caro are victims of a hacking scandal related to x-rated texts sent from one to the other.
Mangano has adamantly maintained his innocence.
“This allegation is outrageous and disgusting and hurtful and it did not come from me, these words did not come from me, it was not done on my phone,” he told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. “It could only be done by a hacker.”
Mangano made his Thursday appearance with his wife in tow. He tried to appear jovial, but it did not stop the questions from numerous reporters, Kramer reported.
Kramer: “Mr. Mangano, do you think there should be an independent probe by either the District Attorney or the FBI of your charges?”
Mangano: “I have no problem with the FBI, and again, the police department’s doing it.”
Kramer: “What about Karin getting two no-bid contracts? Was that appropriate?”
Mangano: “Again, I had nothing to do with that. General municipal law under $35,000 is not a competitive bid process. We in the county are under $25,000.”
Mangano’s appearance came five days after CBS2 broke the story that he ordered a police probe into whether he and Caro are the victims of a hacker who made it appear that they were sexting.
Video shows a previous interview Caro did with the married Mangano for her blog, the Daily Blu.
“You’re an amazing guy,” Caro said to Mangano during the interview. “I follow you. I’ve been inspired by you.”
At Mangano’s appearance Thursday at a drug summit, his wife, Linda, played a prominent role. When he walked in, she gave him a wifely pat on the back.
Questions have since mounted about how Caro got two no-bid Nassau County contracts, both under $25,000, so they need no legislative approval. There was a $24,500 contract in 2013 and a $24,000 contract in 2014.
They were just under the $25,000 cap for requiring more scrutiny.
Mangano’s spokesman said she coordinated “events benefiting veterans and the games for the physically challenged.” Her contracts reportedly say the services she provided were “specialized, unique and cannot be evaluated through a competitive bid process.”
Newsday questioned that in an editorial, saying: “Those needs could easily be met by dozens or hundreds of area firms.”
Newsday also wondered about Mangano’s decision to demand that his appointee, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, handle the investigation. A Nassau police spokesman insists their probe is fair, impartial and won’t be subjected to political pressure.
Kramer: “Do you think you should be investigating the charges made by the county executive and not some independent person not appointed by him?”
Krumpter: ”The Nassau County Police Department is conducting an investigation. The county executive has made an allegation and at this point in time the county executive is not the subject of the investigation, and if at any time he becomes the subject of the investigation, that investigation will be referred to the appropriate agencies.”
Kramer also asked Krumpter how he felt about the FBI taking over the investigation. All she got was a terse “no comment.”
Mangano repeated that he was a victim.
“There’s somebody that’s out there getting their jollies taking down, you know, a public official,” he said. “We’re vulnerable. You’re in the public spotlight, and this is some sick, warped individual.”
As for the contracts, Mangano’s spokesperson sent Kramer a statement from the county attorney insisting the procurement process was fully followed and the work was satisfactory.
Caro said she never communicated with Mangano via text nor does she have his cell phone number.