County Executive won’t seek third term following DA investigation into fundraising

03/24/2011 5:08 PM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced Thursday that he will not seek a third term in office.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced Thursday that he will not seek a third term in office.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced Thursday that he will not seek a third term in office following a 16-month investigation into his campaign finances by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Mr. Levy said Thursday that he has turned over his entire $4 million war chest to the DA.

READ MR. LEVY’S STATEMENT

“Questions have been raised concerning fundraising through my political campaign,” Mr. Levy said. “Since this occurred under my watch I accept responsibility.

“In order to resolve these questions, I will be turning over my campaign funds to the Suffolk County District Attorney.”

District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement Thursday that while the investigation revealed “serious issues in regard to fundraising,” he is confident the county executive never profited from his actions.

READ MR. SPOTA’S STATEMENT

Mr. Spota said the entire fund will be forfeited and monies will be returned following the November 11 election to parties seeking a return on their contribution. The rest will be given to charity.

“There is no question that while the investigation revealed serious issues with regard to fundraising and the manner in which it was conducted, including the use of public resources, I am confident that Mr. Levy did not personally profit,” Mr. Spota said.  “The forfeiture of his $4 million campaign fund demonstrates his acceptance of responsibility for these failings.”

Mr. Spota said there will be no further investigation into Mr. Levy’s conduct and he “will allow Mr. Levy to complete his term was carefully considered and involved weighing his conduct, the need for stability in government in these difficult economic times while affording a smooth transition after the 2011 elections.”

COUNTY EXECUTIVE HAD HINTED HE WOULDN’T RUN

Locally, county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), a longtime political rival of Mr. Levy’s, said Thursday’s news that the county executive would not square off with likely challenger Steve Bellone (D-Babylon) in November came as a surprise.

“I was surprised and shocked, but Steve Levy has always accepted responsibility for his actions,” Mr. Romaine said. “I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Mr. Bellone, the Babylon Town Supervisor since 2002, is the current favorite to earn the Democratic nomination. Mr. Bellone said he was “seriously considering running for county executive” against Mr. Levy during a countywide “listening tour” stop in Riverhead last week.

“Today’s news is indeed surprising and concerning,” Mr. Bellone said in a statement Thursday. “But the challenges and opportunities facing us are greater than any one person and I am confident Suffolk County will grow and thrive with new leadership.”

Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer said Mr. Levy’s decision not to run opens the door for the Democrats’ return to the County Executive’s office.

“I am shocked by today’s announcement that the County Executive will not run for re-election and that he has forfeited his $4 million campaign fund,” Mr. Schaffer said. “I remain as confident as ever that in November we will have a terrific new County Executive, Steve Bellone.”

gparpan@northshoresun.com

Comments

comments

7 Comment

  • I, for one believe that Mr. Levy did a great job running suffolk co. Let he without sin cast the first stone, doubt anyone would be able to. He has tried to support the motorsports community more than anyone else, so he has my vote for his next endeavor.

  • Supporting motor sports, is that all you think about….How about all the other sneaky things this man has done. You know for him to step down this is only the tip of the iceberg. Not to say that anyone else could do better…But we shall see in November, won’t we….

  • The problem was he was always the one casting stones when the whole time he was lying to us.

  • Rotating home from Korea in April 1954, boarded a troopship in Inchon Harbor, stowed my gear in my cabin, went to the wardroom for lunch. Handed a menu by white-jacketed Filipino. First item on the list – ‘Roast Long Island Duck”. In Inchon Harbor. Hospital ship “HOPE” anchored about a half mile awa. Junks and dhows all about looking for handouts. A favorite ever since.