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Hennessy Files Serious Financial & Ethics Charges Against Mandel, Adelson, and Torres: Notifies District Attorney

The following is a copy of the Press Release that was sent out today. 

Follow me on Twitter @jimhennessylbny

  • Former City Council President Hennessy Files Serious Ethics Charges Against President Mandel, Adelson, and Torres  
  • Requests Investigation into Potential “Quid Pro Quo” Between City and Tom Suozzi’s Law Firm
  • District Attorney Kathleen Rice Notified

Former City Council President Jim Hennessy has filed ethics charges against City Council Members Scott Mandel, Fran Adelson, and Len Torres with the Long Beach Ethics Board and contacted the Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen Rice. Hennessy is asking Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice and the Long Beach Board of Ethics to investigate potential ethics violations, financial disclosure violations, and what appears to be a “quid pro quo” between the city, under City Manager Jack Schnirman and the Harris Beach, PLLC, who names Former County Executive and current candidate for County Executive Tom Suozzi, a member of the firm’s Corporate Practice Group.

In the complaint, Hennessy makes a number of allegations. First, Hennessy alleges that Mandel, Adelson, and Torres may have received a free gift of services, valued at over  $10,000, from the Harris Beach, PLLC which was required to be reported to the Board of Ethics and the State Board of Elections but was apparently never reported, according to city and state ethical disclosures reviewed by Hennessy under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Furthermore, if Mandel, Adelson, and Torres did pay for the legal services of Harris Beach, PLLC, they did not report their business relationship as required by the city’s ethics law and state campaign financial disclosure laws. According to the complaint, either way, Mandel, Adelson, and Torres broke the law by either not paying for the legal services and not disclosing it, or paying and not disclosing the relationship.

According to Hennessy, the Long Beach City Charter, the Long Beach Code of Ordinances and the Long Beach Code of Ethics are very clear. Every year, by May 15th, each officer of the city must disclose, in writing, certain relationships that person has with any firm such as Harris Beach, PLCC who does business with the city.  Section 13 of the Long Beach City Charter states, “No officer or employee shall solicit or receive any pay, commission, money or thing of value, or derive any benefit or advantage, directly or indirectly, from any contract with the city or supplies sold to the city or by reason of any improvements, alterations or repairs required by authority of the city, except his lawful compensation or salary as such officer or employee. 

Furthermore, Section 18, Paragraph 3(a) of the City’s Code of Ethics, regarding “Gifts and favors” states as follows: “No officer or employee of the City of Long Beach, whether paid or unpaid, shall accept or solicit any valuable gift, whether in the form of services, loan, thing or promise or any other form, from any person, firm or corporation, which to his knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business or professional dealings with the city or any agency thereof.”

Mandel, Adelson, and Torres were represented by Harris Beach, PLLC from December 2011 through January 2012 in litigation to prevent former Police Commissioner Tom Sofield, Sr., from collecting his earned retirement payout. Secondly, Hennessy further alleges that in February 2012, only 21 days after Harris Beach PLLC, Mandel, Adelson, and Torres withdrew their legal claim, thus settling the litigation, the city under the recommendation of City Manager Jack Schnirman hired the same firm (Harris Beach, PLLC) and the very same attorney in the firm (Kevin M. Corbett) to assist the city in forming a Local Development Corporation (LDC). The city then paid Harris Beach, PLLC over $13,000 to form the LDC.

Hennessy is asking the Long Beach Ethics Board and the Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen Rice, to investigate whether or not Mandel, Adelson and Torres’ failure to disclose the free legal representation provided by Harris Beach, PLCC, constitutes a violation of the City of Long Beach Ethics Code and City Charter or any criminal law. Hennessy is also requesting an investigation to determine if a quid pro quo occurred between the city, under Jack Schnirman, and Harris Beach PLLC whereby Mandel, Adelson, and Torres obtained free legal representation from Harris Beach, PLLC in return for funneling city business to Harris Beach, PLCC and paid for with taxpayer money.

According to Hennessy and documents he obtained through the Freedom of Information Law it appears the city’s decision to hire Harris Beach, PLLC to form the Long Beach Local Development Corporation (LBLDC) was done without any Request for Proposals from any other firms and during the first days of the new city council administration, in early 2012, the very same time that Mandel, Adelson, and Torres litigation was being settled.

According to Hennessy, “It appears that in December 2011 and January 2012 Scott Mandel, Fran Adelson, and Len Torres obtained free legal representation from Harris Beach, a politically connected law firm, and they failed to disclose the gift of services to proper authorities. Then, only 21 days after that case was settled, on February 21, 2012, Council Members Mandel, Adelson, and Torres voted to hire that same firm and the very same attorney to form the Long Beach Local Development Corporation at a taxpayer cost of nearly $14,000!  If, after a thorough investigation these allegations are found to be true, Mandel, Adelson, and Torres’ conduct may very well constitute serious violations of the ethics law as well as criminal law and are a malicious and illegal use of taxpayer money -especially during a so-called fiscal crisis.”

Hennessy continued, “It appears that Mandel, Adelson, and Torres may well have not only violated the law by not disclosing the gift to the proper authorities but they also violated the public trust by funneling taxpayer money to a politically connected firm that provided them with free legal representation only 21 days beforehand.”

“Given the facts and the evidence it appears that the use of Harris Beach, PLLC by Mandel, Adelson, and Torres and the hiring of Harris Beach, PLLC by the Mandel, Adelson, and Torres as Council Members may be connected,” said Hennessy, “Its just too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.”

If an investigation finds these allegations to be true, its demonstrates that from the very moment Mandel, Adelson, and Torres were elected they may have planned to obtain free legal representation and then conspired with City Manager Jack Schnirman to funnel public taxpayer money to the politically connected law firm to return the favor. “This appears to be a classic political quid pro quo, at the taxpayer’s expense” added Hennessy.

According to Hennessy, “There are just too many coincidences surrounding the matter of Harris Beach, PLCC, the Long Beach Local Development Corporation, and even the new Long Beach Board of Ethics. For example he continued, “On August 7, 2012 Council Members Mandel, Adelson, Torres, and Schnirman disbanded a Board of Ethics that had been in existence for eight (8) years and replaced its members with their own hand-picked team of Long Beach Democrat Clubhouse political friends and cronies. Coincidentally, the very same night they appointed their friends to the new Ethics Board Mandel, Adelson, and Torres voted to officially form the Long Beach Local Development Corporation that Harris Beach, LLC was paid over $13,000 to form. Is it a total coincidence that the very same night the city formed the LBLDC they also completely revamped the Long Beach Ethics Board, packing it with their friends and political supporters?” 

Hennessy added. “I only hope that the new members of the Board of Ethics can see past their political loyalties and friendships with Mandel, Adelson and Torres to objectively review the facts and render a decision that is just, moral and in the interest of the residents of this city rather than their political friends in the clubhouse,” commented Hennessy. “And to make sure they are objective, the District Attorney, Kathleen Rice, should review the matter as well,” he added.

“If true, it’s actions such as these that make people, distrust their elected officials and give moral and ethical elected officials a bad reputation,” added Hennessy.


Click here to see Hennessy's complaint to the LB Board of Ethics and Nassau Councy DA


Click here to see documents regarding the complaint

Attachment A

Attachment B

Attachment C

Attachment D

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nancy Mc. July 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Notice how the administrations comments tries to deflect away from the fact...who paid for the legal services? http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/ethics-complaint-filed-against-long-beach-council-members-1.5745680
larry teague July 22, 2013 at 11:27 PM
mr badman, what you fail to disclose from the state audit is interesting. so much money is unaccounted for. where is it? why has this group done nothing to investigate? almost two years for the comptroller to audit the city? it took the independent auditors four months. where is the money? why does it STILL CONTINUE? where is the money that disappeared from this group? the recreation money that disappeared? the executives that put in for overtime payments from the storm even though they are not entitled to overtime? all of the jobs that were created during a "fiscal crisis." specifically the entire democratic club exec board being hired? and mr paine, why is your dad running for a post that he knows he will have to leave after six months? knowing full well that the city will be stuck with someone for over 9 YEARS who wasn't honestly elected by the people? is that distracting you? is that not worthy of an answer? if your buddies borrowed all of this money to pay off the bad repub deficit, then where is our tax refund? this city needs an independent party. the sleaziness is just non-stop
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 07:19 AM
"Larry" how does one sue you for all your lies and false accusations? Or should we sue the patch?
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 07:19 AM
Jimmy still silent when pressed about Brad's Blog??????
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 07:21 AM
Jimmy still silent about Brad's Blog???? We do need a new party. Forget row a, b and c. Vote row d.
Hamburger July 23, 2013 at 07:37 AM
Will Goggin get appointed to the judgeship (as opposed to "elected at the will of the people") should Judge Tepper get re-elected and then retire due to age limits?
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 07:57 AM
The rumor in dem circles is denis kelly but a couple months later hed have to run in election against tommy jr for the remaining years of the term. How old is hommel? He looks at least 75 but maybe that's just the Shine's mileage?
Dougie Goodguy July 23, 2013 at 08:33 AM
Hey Dougie Badman, stop whining already! Hennesey already said, numerous times that mistakes were made in the past and maybe the budget could have been tighter. And I was never a real fan of Hennesey's, but he makes good points and backs them up. And if you read Newsday story on this issue, the administration's responses are hysterical. Hennesey caught them in a bold face scam and they are busted. Lets see what their friends on the ethics board do now. Let the resignations and hearings commence!
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 08:38 AM
Margaret is that you????
Henry July 23, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Mr.Badman-why don't you address the claims Hennessy asserts? Did these guys get free legal representation and then direct taxpayer money to the firm to return the favor. Your ridiculous attempts to sway attention away from the facts make you look like the fool you really are. Go get them Mr. Hennessy! Thanks for looking out for the taxpayers.
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 09:55 AM
Hey Dougie, calm down....I stand by my statemnet, the crisis definitely over exaggerated and a lie,you're not going to chnage my mind.....I have said in the past that maybe things in the past budget could have been tighter; but once again the Coalition’s position was backed by the public.: We will use the rainy day fund to offset tax increases and budget gaps, period. I know Mandel and Co. has now said they want to establish a “Rainy Day Fund”. Here’ are two questions I posed to the administration and now I’ll pose to you….1) What should the rainy day fund be used for, and 2) Are you saying that while the city sat on a $8 million surplus, they should have raised taxes instead of using the surplus? (I think I heard a pin drop....)
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 09:56 AM
But since you bring up the audit lets point out a few things and how absolutely blatantly political the DiNapoli report is: 1) The word "Recession" doesn't appear once in the entire report. Everyone knows that while the prior administration may have made mistakes, a huge part of the revenue problem was the impact of the recession on municipal revenues. How does DiNapoli explain that omission, or did the Coalition cause the Great Recession as well? 2) P. 14-15 of the audit states that this administration, not the prior administration, held nearly 100 old checks from deposit in the bank until after the 2012 budget year ended. One check was over $650,000! Had that one check been deposited the deficit would be only $4.5 million or less than 8% of the budget. Now, what if all the checks were deposited and not held until after July 1?? That would have made a significant impact on the deficit. But instead of depositing the checks, Mandel-Goggin appeared to have “cooked” the books, held back deposits to artificially inflate the deficit. Whose playing games with whose money? In addition, what did Mandel do between January 1- and July 1 to eliminate the operating deficit? He should have made significant cuts, but instead they hired over 30 family and friends (during a hiring freeze), spent, borrowed and hurt the city more. I’ll be the first to admit that maybe the budget could have been better under the prior administration, but can you admit that Mandel Goggin are playing games to make matters worse and its hurting our city. I look forward to you answer to the two questions above.
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 09:57 AM
Hey Dougie.......Read this from “The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities” about governments using surplus funds: “The roller-coaster economy of the last decade has highlighted the importance of state “rainy day funds” — budget reserves designed to respond to unexpected revenue declines or spending increases caused by recessions or other events. Between 2001 and 2004 and again starting in 2007, states struggled to close large deficits, and the first place many of them turned was their rainy day funds and other budget reserves. In the aftermath of the recent recession, over 70 percent of states reported using their rainy day funds to address budget gaps, according to surveys by the National Association of State Budget Officers. These budgetary “cushions” reduced the need for large, immediate spending cuts or tax increases, giving many states time to consider ways to maintain needed services despite depressed revenues.” So what the Coalition did was the standard not the exception…. ______________________________________________ http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3387
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Is the The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Wrong, and are the 70% of governments who did the same thing the Coalition did wrong?
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Here's more proof DiNapoli is being blatantly political. While DiNapoli criticizes the Coalition's use of the surplus, here are his own words from his publication, "LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT GUIDE - RESRVE FUNDS ...."A reasonable level of unreserved, unappropriated fund balance provides a cushion for unforeseen expenditures or revenue shortfalls and helps to ensure that adequate cash flow is available to meet the cost of operations." ______________________________________________- http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/lgmg/reservefunds.pdf
Jimmy Hennessy July 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM
the silence is deafening Dougie.....
Bonnie Margaret July 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Everything you've said is a lie and you dodged the Clarkson question. "If you need a doctor , I have one." The check in question, if you could read, was one the city paid not received and the herald printed that it was a computer error by the bank anyway. "Now it's time to pay the piper" jimmy hennessy
LB Swimmer July 23, 2013 at 01:09 PM
So this is a blog, not an article? It makes it look like Mandel, Adelson, and Torres personally benefitted from the "gift". In reality, from the looks of the complaint, the city was the benefactor and in turn awarded a contract to a vendor without bidding it out. Sorry, if $13,000 was a reasonable fee, and the city received free services, I don't see the big deal and applaud Schnirman's resourcefulness. Sorry, Jimmy. Your not making a case to my satisfaction. One can only hope Rice has enough common sense to see through this as another "sour grapes" action by a disenfranchised has-been.
occupylongbeach July 23, 2013 at 04:49 PM
The republican admin was disgusting in the way it treated people, the way they mismanaged money, etc. So is this democratic bunch. The shame of it all is that things won't change in long beach. Not even this 'independent' slate that are really just a front for the republicans. Hennessy will act as kohut does for the dems now. I wish hennessy was actually constructive and cared about this city. His agenda is obvious and it's a shame we don't have someone who's willing to put aside their biases to do some good for this city.
larry teague July 23, 2013 at 07:29 PM
LB Swimmer, there ia a key point that should be raised. The council members were "represented" as citizens. Mandel and Adelson weren't even sworn in yet. The suit was pushed by the Dem leader. Rumor is the lawfirm was never paid. I agree with you that the taxpayers COULD have been the beneficiaries had the suit succeeded, but it doesn't escape the fact that it was a politically driven (in long beach?) suit brought by private citizens who subsequently voted on a contract that involved their own legal council. should they have asked out on the vote? should they have revealed the details? Transparency was their mantra wasn't it? And Mr Badman, if you believe in litigation then I say go for it. The facts are a very unique thing in this city. They are quite valuable. Be wary of where you tread sir
Leonard Bauman July 23, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Dougie Badman is a rouse for Old Man Zapson and Old Man Kohut, pay no attention to Dougie Badman, please from now on! Dougie Badman, go kiss our bowls of Grits!
Jessica July 23, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Dougie badman / Schnirman wow time for u to go! Who are u in with? How u can believe the crap u write about is unbelievable. R u still dating him?
Leonard Bauman July 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM
If PSYCHOPATHS like Old Man Zapson, Old Man Kohut, and Dougie Badman are not MANIPULATING someone, they are NOT having their FUN!
jetsboog July 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM
dougie badman just got splattered back into the hole he crawled out of well done jimmy keep on asking the tough questions .
Karen McInnis July 24, 2013 at 07:04 PM
i will glady pay even more taxes for an employee from the NYS comptrollers office to function as a full time, onsite internal auditor for the City of Long Beach.This way the winner would be the taxpayers, and the losers would be those Long Beach operatives elected, appointed, affiliated, entitled by birth and/or hired who do not ascribe to a personal code of ethics demonstrable by word or action.
Karen McInnis July 24, 2013 at 07:13 PM
And THIS persn will approve and report to the taxpayer where Billy Crystal's $1 million bucks is spent along with Cuomos's, actually the US taxpayer's $25 million in Communiry Redevelopment Zones funds. Any government principled on transparency should have no issue with this proposal.
Leonard Bauman July 24, 2013 at 09:59 PM
This is Long Beach Democrats, ALL HIGHER TAXES, ALL THE TIME! ELECT DEMOCRATS FOR EVEN HIGHER AND HIGHER TAXES! YOU DON'T NEED MONEY, DO YOU?
Jessica July 25, 2013 at 08:11 AM
So is it true billy crystal money has been spent.. Oh do tell $700,000 gone already. Poof into friends and family fund.
delete me July 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Jessica July 25, 2013 at 08:11 am "So is it true billy crystal money has been spent.. Oh do tell $700,000 gone already. Poof into friends and family fund." Explain this accusation.
Hamburger July 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Seriously - to just throw that out there - not good

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