On Saturday, one day after he was indicted on charges that he was paid about $80,000 in salary from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office for work he didn’t do, Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman Edward Walsh was back screening candidates for office.
And one of the candidates who screened with him was local county Legislator Al Krupski, who gave a simple reason why: He wants the nomination and the criminal charges against Mr. Walsh had no bearing on his decision.
“I screened with the Conservative Party because I wanted the Conservative line,” said Mr. Krupski, a Democrat. “I had it in the last election, too.”
Mr. Krupski said about 20 Suffolk County Conservative Party members, including Mr. Walsh, were present at the March 8 screening committee meeting, which he attended for less than half an hour.
Other candidates who participated in the screenings, which took place at an Islip law office, included Legislators Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) and Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip) and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, according to Newsday.
Mr. Walsh, 48, of East Islip, has worked as a corrections officer at the county jail in Riverside since 1990, although he was suspended without pay following his arraignment in January. He has chaired the Conservative Party in Suffolk since 2006.
From January 2011 to April 2014, Mr. Walsh “falsely reported to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office that he had worked certain regular and overtime hours when, in fact, he did not,” according to a press statement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
“To conceal his scheme, Walsh allegedly lied to FBI agents, claiming that he worked flex time or was on the telephone regarding his work at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, even while at the golf course,” the statement continued.
“Mr. Walsh shook down county government for hours he never worked. In reality, he was often on the ninth hole practicing his putting, among other things. Mr. Walsh today finds himself in serious trouble with the law for allegedly defrauding Suffolk County,” said FBI assistant director-in-charge George Venizelos said in the statement.
“Instead of upholding the law, Edward Walsh abused his position and authority and robbed from taxpayers to fund his personal and political activities,” Ms. Lynch said in the same statement.
The federal grand jury indictment issued Friday charged Mr. Walsh, who has pleaded not guilty, with one count of theft of funds and one count of wire fraud.
The indictment states that if Mr. Walsh is convicted of the charges, the government will seek forfeiture of any property derived from proceeds traceable to alleged scheme.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Mr. Walsh said, “I can’t talk now,” and hung up after being told the call was from a reporter.
Mr. Krupski received 2,964 votes on the Conservative line in the November 2013 general election, easily defeating Republican Alain DeKerillis by a vote of 13,514 to 5,022. He did not hold that line earlier that year, when he first secured his legislative seat in a special election against Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, which he also won handily, 7,152 to 3,447.