Between 2004 and 2006, Nassau taxpayers voted to spend $150 million to buy environmentally sensitive land in order to stop development and preserve parkland for public access.
Sadly, Tom Suozzi had other things in mind for those Environmental Bond funds.
Records reveal that Tom Suozzi spent more than $14 million of those taxpayer dollars to buy 36 acres of the back and side yards of friends, employees and campaign donors.
Just when you think politics can’t get worse, it does! Most of the land Suozzi purchased can’t even be accessed by the public because it’s sandwiched in between privately owned land.
Here are some examples…
Tom Suozzi spent $11 million of residents hard earned money to buy several pieces of property and a driveway from a couple of adjacent homes in Oyster Bay Cove – all in order to stop the potential development of just 11 new houses.
Two of the property sellers were financial backers of Suozzi’s campaign. One had worked with Suozzi as a consultant early in his first term. Another seller was the mother-in-law of a County employee.
In some cases, people who sold parts of their private yards to the County, for millions, were allowed to continue using portions of the property. But, since it now fell under government ownership, the sellers no longer had to pay property taxes on it. What a deal!
The members of the Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee, which had to approve each EBA purchase, were appointed by Tom Suozzi. Go figure.
At least 10 of the properties the County purchased between 2006 and 2009 had no signage showing County ownership, despite protests from the then Democratic-ruled County Legislature.
In another example, between 2007 and 2008, while Suozzi was closing a deal to buy the 25-acre Smithers Estate in Mill Neck for $7.8 million, the Smithers family and its lawyers – made $26,000 in donations to Suozzi’s political campaign.
The County paid the law firm $390,000 for their work on behalf of the Smithers, and less than a week later, the firm donated $15,000 to Suozzi’s campaign.
In all, the law firm donated $46,000 to Suozzi’s campaign from 2007-2009. The Smithers family gave $19,000 between 2006 and 2009. Meanwhile, records of the purchase appear to show an extra $1.5 million bonded for the deal, which has not yet been unaccounted for.