Conservative questions Giglio’s mold contract beef

06/08/2013 6:00 AM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (right) and the rest of the Riverhead Republican nominees, from left, Mike Panchak, Laverne Tennenberg, John Dunleavy, Sean Walter and Anthony Palumbo at the committee’s nominating convention last month.

“I had nothing to do with her not getting the Conservative Party line,” Charles Sclafani said this week in response to Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s claim she might have been left off the Conservative line for the November elections because she opposed a resolution awarding a mold remediation contract to a company owned by Mr. Sclafani’s brother back in 2010.

Mr. Sclafani suggested Ms. Giglio’s position on that contract might have been because a competing mold company was a contributor to her campaign.

Ms. Giglio was the only Riverhead Republican Committee nominees for town offices not also being endorsed by the Suffolk County Conservative Party.

Instead, the Conservatives only nominated one of the two Republican council candidates — Councilman John Dunleavy — and made no recommendation on the other seat, for which the Riverhead Republican Committee nominated Ms. Giglio, an incumbent.

Anthony Coates, a former adviser to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, is running a Republican primary for a Town Council seat.

Ms. Giglio said in an interview Tuesday that she felt her stance on the 2010 mold remediation contract played a role in the Conservative party decision. Charles Sclafani is a Conservative Party member and his wife, Carol, is local Conservative committee treasurer and an assistant in Supervisor Sean Walter’s office.

Mr. Walter also is a former leader of the town Conservative party, although he is now a registered Republican.

“It’s been said repeatedly that I wouldn’t get Conservative support ever since the no-bid mold contract issue,” Ms. Giglio told the News-Review in a riverheadnewsreview.com story published Tuesday and in this week’s News-Review newspaper.

“I am not involved in any of these decisions by the Conservative party,” Charles Sclafani countered on Wednesday. “They don’t ask my opinion or seek my opinion.”

He said that while he is a member of the town Conservative committee, that committee isn’t technically even active since it hasn’t had a chairman in more than a year.

Conservative party decisions in Riverhead Town and the rest of the East End are made by the Suffolk County Conservative committee, he said.

Suffolk County Conservative chairman Ed Walsh confirmed this week that he’s in charged of the East End Conservative groups, adding that the mold contract had nothing to do with the decision.

He said the committee was split on whether to endorse Ms. Giglio or Mr. Coates, so decided to go with neither.

Mr. Sclafani, meanwhile, questioned if Ms. Giglio’s opposition to giving the mold remediation contract to his brother’s company was due to the fact that another mold remediation company was a big campaign contributor for Ms. Giglio.

“Her campaign disclosure reports from 2009 show a $1,000 donation from Mold Terminators Inc. of Miller Place,” Mr. Sclafani said. “So would that have anything to do with her being upset? That her largest donator wasn’t called?”

Not true, according to Ms. Giglio, who said her opposition to the mold remediation contract was due to the fact that it was being done on an “emergency” basis with no competitive bidding.

She said the storm that flooded the Jamesport Community Center in 2010 happened in mid-March, the town attorney’s office wrote a letter recommending the mold remediation job go out to competitive bids in late April, and the town waited six weeks before doing anything, and then said it needed to issue an emergency contract, without bids, so that some summer programs could start on time.

“My wanting to save the taxpayers money has nothing to do with a campaign contribution I had gotten,” she said.

Ms. Giglio and Mr. Walter have publicly feuded many times in the past three years, and Mr. Coates, who had been a political advisor to Mr. Walter, has stated that he endorses Mr. Dunleavy and he has specifically targeted Ms. Giglio in the Rebpublican primary campaign.

Officially, all three candidates must run for the same two seats in the at-large primary.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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