The Journal News by Timothy O'Connor - December 5, 2010
Servino, Santangelo, and Randazzo had handled most of the county's outside legal work since 2000. Servino, Santangelo and Mangone have all been registered Republicans; voter records for Randazzo were not available. In 2004, the firm would go on to bill the county for $365,515 — more than any other law firm for the county. The federal subpoena served on the town in May also demanded Pozzi's financial disclosure reports. Mangone joined the Servino firm some time in early 2002, the same year he admitted under oath he opened sealed absentee ballots and wrote in the names of state Sen. Nicholas Spano, R-Yonkers, and another Republican candidate on the Green Party line. Mangone was the Republican Westchester County deputy election commissioner as well as the chief of staff and campaign manager for Spano. Mangone was never convicted of any crime. He had struck a secret deal with the office of Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor to satisfy any indictment lodged against him. But a grand jury that heard evidence in the case voted not to indict him.
More Political Ties
He was not the only member of the firm with political connections. Servino had served as an assistant district attorney and was a colleague of then-Putnam County Attorney Carl Lodes, through whom the firm received its county work. Santangelo was close to Albert J. Pirro, the Republican lawyer and husband of the district attorney. Santangelo represented Pirro during his federal tax fraud trial in 2000. Pirro was convicted and served 11 months in a federal prison. In 2006, Jeanine Pirro admitted she was under federal investigation for trying to plant a listening device on her husband's boat. She thought he was cheating on her. Published reports said the suspected other woman was Michael Santangelo's wife, Lisa. Santangelo, who now has his own law practice in White Plains, did not return calls seeking comment. Pirro and Randazzo, who has a firm in Rye Brook now, also did not return calls seeking comment. Servino could not be reached for comment. In January 2006, Servino left the firm to rejoin the district attorney's office, signing on as Janet DiFiore's chief of the appeals and special litigation unit. He left the office this summer, taking a buyout. Three days after Servino's appointment was announced, the firm was re-christened Santangelo, Randazzo and Mangone. It continued to support Republican candidates. Between 2001 and 2006, the firm gave $8,300 to Nicholas Spano. Leibell received $4,825 in contributions.
Leibell, a Republican from Patterson, resigned from the Senate on Thursday night. He also will not be sworn in as Putnam County executive next month, the office to which he was elected in November. A source close to him said he is going to plead guilty this week to federal corruption charges. He was spotted Friday at the federal courthouse in White Plains. If he does plead guilty, he will become the second political conviction in a federal investigation that began nearly four years ago as a probe into the Yonkers City Council's handling of the controversial $630 million Ridge Hill development project. Mangone, former Yonkers GOP Chairman Zehy Jereis and former Yonkers Democratic City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi were indicted in January. At Mangone's guilty plea Nov. 29, a federal judge sealed his plea agreement with prosecutors at the request of Mangone's lawyer, leading to speculation that he had signed a cooperation deal with federal investigators. He pleaded guilty to giving Jereis $30,000 in the spring of 2006 that he believed was going to be passed on to Annabi as a bribe to get her to switch her vote on the Longfellow School redevelopment project. That same year, Mangone was appointed special counsel to Patterson Town Planning Board for the Patterson Crossing project, a 410,560-square-foot shopping center planned for the Patterson-Kent border. In June 2008, he wrote a letter in support of his firm's reappointment to the $175-an-hour contract. "Our firm … serves as counsel to several real estate developers and as such, we have a unique familiarity with the vast array of issues associated with the planning and development process," he wrote. The board unanimously approved his reappointment. TPOCONNOR@LOHUD.COM