Kaplan to draft ‘anti-corruption’ legislation eyeing government contracts

Kaplan to draft ‘anti-corruption’ legislation eyeing government contracts
State Senator Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) is searching for information about notes that were found on a few dozen doors in the Manhasset area. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Legislation being crafted by state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) would require those seeking contracts with a municipality to disclose all financial relationships to any local political party leaders or their immediate families.

Kaplan’s legislation would also require that any application for a municipal contract that did not include a signed disclosure statement indicating these relationships would be considered null and void.

“Long Island has been rocked by so many scandals in recent years involving government contractors and their inappropriate relationships to people in power. We need to shine a strong light on these relationships so that the people in our communities can begin to have faith in their governments again,” Kaplan said in a statement.

The legislation is in response to controversy over a contract extension for a vendor at Lido Beach.

At a July 31 news conference, Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said the contract concerning the town’s Malibu Shore Club at Lido Beach with the Freeport company Dover Gourmet Corp. led to discounted and reduced fees that resulted in a giveaway of approximately $169,000 in “taxpayer resources” every year.

The controversy over the contract started after Newsday reported in July that Dover failed to pay the Town of Hempstead $674,000 from 2013 to 2014 and has not paid $531,400 owed in rent in nearly a year.

Gillen said that an outside legal counsel should investigate the specifics of the contract and the implications of any oral agreements that may have been made outside of the official contract.

“My administration has been rooting out corruption in the Town of Hempstead since day one, but I have been met with constant obstruction,” Gillen said in a statement. “Increased state oversight into municipal contracting will assist me in addressing waste, fraud, and abuse that council-members refuse to acknowledge or address. I urge state lawmakers to join Senator Kaplan in this important legislation.”

On Aug. 6, the Hempstead Town Board approved hiring Hogan Lovells US LLP to provide legal and investigative services to investigate the April 12 extension of a contract with Dover Gourmet Corp.

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