Tom Suozzi was elected County Executive on promises to solve the county's fiscal crisis, but in 2003 - less than 2 years after taking office - he had his first scandal, which exposed a lack of internal controls at the top. Deputy County Executive for Economic Development Peter Sylver was found to have misappropriated county and federal funds and was forced to resign; three of his aides, who were no-shows a work for months, were fired. And in 2004, Sylver was criminally convicted of using a county credit card for more than $5,000 in personal expenses—and sexually harassing a female aide. His financial irregularities included questionable credit card purchases on the accounts of federal community development grants, which are supposed to be spent to help needy communities. He charged numerous trips, including a $3,000 visit to London to deliver a paper on education's relation to economic development. There was $22,000 in ''stipends'' his office paid to supplement “some” workers' pay.
Suozzi then handpicked Connie Lassandro to come in as a commissioner, and straighten out the Housing office. Years later Connie is being investigated by HUD, the Attorney General and the county comptroller, for misappropriating federal Section 8 dollars – also meant for low-income and otherwise homeless residents.
Georgina Morgenstern, who worked for Sylver, says she witnessed illegal acts on a daily basis: These included Federal funds earmarked to help the poor being used to finance campaign appearances; county workers raising campaign funds on the taxpayers’ dime; illegal fundraising; the disregarding of state and federal environmental laws to save time; and the administration failing to follow proper procedures to get competitive bids for county work.
She said the illegal activities were committed by a number of county officials at the direct behest of Deputy County Executive Anthony Cancellieri and Suozzi himself. When she spoke up about the problems to her supervisors, she said she was harassed and then fired. She filed a $35 million federal lawsuit against the county in January 2004. Former Nassau employees Thomas Williams and Robin Pellegrini claim they spoke up about illegal use of taxpayer money and were also fired for it. The two sued the county for $70 million.
County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) – a Suozzi ally - was removed from chambers in handcuffs one day in 2003, when he was found to have committed voter petition fraud for his campaign to become a Democratic committeeman. He pleaded guilty in 2005 to a misdemeanor charge of signing his name to nominating petition sheets for ballot designation, which contained fraudulent signatures and falsely attesting that he had witnessed the signatures. He was given a year of unsupervised probation, no fine or jail time, and was allowed to retain his law license and his elected post.
Nassau Legislator Roger Corbin was arrested in May 2009 for failing to report income from a developer who was awarded a significant contract for work; filing false tax returns and lying to FBI and IRS agents. He had received 81 checks totaling $226,000 from the developer between 2005 and 2007. Each of the checks was made payable to “Cash” and deposited into one of Corbin’s personal bank accounts. The developer had been awarded construction contracts as part of a federally-funded revitalization project in New Cassel. Corbin did not report any of the money derived from the checks as income on his tax returns and did not pay income tax on that money. In 2012 he was found guilty of bribe receiving and official misconduct as part of a scheme (with former county legislator Patrick Williams) to steer a redevelopment project in New Cassel to a developer in exchange for $400,000 in bribes. Corbin was sentenced to 18 months in jail.