Nocerino acquitted In latest round of corruption probe
Richard Porcelli, former campaign manager for ex-Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, pled guilty to a misdemeanor corruption charge in Nassau County Court on Thursday, Sept. 5, becoming the latest official to be convicted in District Attorney Madeline Singas’ probe of the town.
The 72-year-old Ronkonkoma resident was sentenced to 25 hours of community service after reaching a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office. Porcelli was charged with two counts of official misconduct in addition to the corruption charge during his 2017 indictment.
The charges stemmed from an employment scheme within the town involving the reinstatement of a part-time Parks District employee who supposedly drew a swastika at a park in Farmingdale. Venditto himself pled guilty to corruption charges stemming from the scheme on July 26 in a deal that ensured that he too would not see the inside of a cell.
While Porcelli did not hold an official position within the Town of Oyster Bay, prosecutors claimed he was universally acknowledged as Venditto’s second in command, and his words carried the supervisor’s authority with them as well.
If he completes his community service and stays out of legal trouble during the one-year conditional discharge that came with the sentence, Porcelli will serve no time in jail for the corruption conviction. Had he been convicted without the plea deal, Porcelli could have spent up to a year in prison.
It’s been an auspicious couple weeks for officials who used to be part of Venditto’s administration. On Thursday, Sept. 12, a judge acquitted former Town of Oyster Bay Parks Commissioner Frank Nocerino of charges of official misconduct related to the same scheme
Testimony from Nocerino’s trial revealed that county prosecutors gathered information for the probe partially through using Stacey Greig, ex-fiancee of former town Planning and Development Commissioner Frederick Ippolito, as a confidential informant. Greig said she agreed to become an informant for the county because she feared Ippolito would harm her and her family.
The judge for the case, State Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood, remarked that while the prosecution’s evidence that Nocerino had actually committed a crime was lacking, the former commissioner’s actions still displayed incompetence or neglect of duty, and the town as a whole was “a model of bad government.”
So far, Ippolito is the only Oyster Bay official whose conviction carried with it a sentence involving jail time, 27 months for a tax evasion charge stemming from money he received from town contractors while serving as the town’s Planning and Development Commissioner. Ippolito died in June, 2017, while awaiting indictment on charges from the county’s probe.