Smithtown, NY — The latest FEC Pre-Primary filings are proof positive that the negative campaigns directed against Chris Cox, the real conservative Republican in the NY-1 House race, have failed to stop his growing momentum with less than two weeks to Primary Day.
The Chris Cox campaign raised $103,136 for the filing period, nearly double that of his closest competitor, Randolph Altschuler.
On the heels of a resounding legal victory paving the way for Chris Cox to gain the Conservative Party line via a grass-roots Opportunity to Ballot primary, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings demonstrate that Team Cox is gaining not just volunteers and committed voters, but their hard-earned financial support.
“We definitely have the resources to wage a winning fight for both the Republican and Conservative nominations,” declared Cox.
“We will win this race on the issues,” Cox continued. “Victory this year has never been about matching, dollar-for-dollar, the special interest money received by the liberal incumbent, nor my opponent’s fortune that was amassed by sending American jobs overseas. Nevertheless, I am gratified by all the contributions, small and large, that continue to pour into our campaign by voters seeking a conservative leader they can trust.”
Republicans, Conservatives, and patriots in the Tea Party movement, including the Suffolk County 9-12 Project and the Conservative Society for Action, are uniting to ensure the defeat of liberal incumbent Rep. Timothy Bishop, a man out of step with the overburdened taxpayers of Long Island.
“I will be an Ambassador for job creation on Long Island and Suffolk County’s toughest defender in our Nation’s capital,” said Cox.
Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are investigating a motorcycle crash that killed a 21-year-old Lake Grove man.
Richard Anzalone was operating a 2008 Suzuki motorcycle southbound on Indian Head Road when he hit a curb and lost control of the vehicle in front of 2 Indian Head Road, Commack, at approximately 11:45 p.m. on September 2. Anzalone, who was travelling at a high rate of speed, was ejected from the motorcycle and was found in the parking lot of Christ the King Church, located at 2 Indian Head Road, Commack.Anzalone, of 20 Mosby Drive, was transported via Suffolk County Police helicopter to Stony Brook University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The motorcycle was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing.
by David Winzelberg
“Hi Jesse, he’s not in yet.”
That’s Marlene Wolke answering the phone at the supervisor’s office in Smithtown on a recent morning.
Wolke was referring to her boss, Patrick Vecchio, and she was speaking to Jesse DeAlmeida, who with his brother Al owns Nesconset-based Jadeco Construction, one of the town’s most prolific vendors.
No surprise that Wolke, like many employees in town hall, is on a first name basis with DeAlmeida. He’s spent a lot of time there, and with the longtime Republican supervisor himself, in town offices and on the golf course, at restaurants and at each other’s homes.
Vecchio has also been a guest at DeAlmeida’s condominium in Florida.
“That has nothing to do with his bidding for jobs,” Vecchio told Long Island Business News. “I’ve been friends with him for 30 years.”
Cementing a relationship
Friendship aside, Jadeco has virtually owned the sidewalk and curb work in Smithtown for at least the last decade, according to records obtained by LIBN through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Between 2004 and 2009, Smithtown put out four contracts to bid for handicapped-accessible ramps, curbs and sidewalks totaling about $2 million. Not only did Jadeco win all of those bids, but it subsequently billed the town more than $15.5 million for concrete work done during that time.
The cost difference? The bids were for “requirement contracts,” which allow a vendor to supply its services on an “as needed basis,” according to Smithtown purchasing director Joe Kostecki. The amount of work offered in such bids is an estimate, he said, and the town reserves the right to order more, less or none at all.
In Jadeco’s case it was always much more.
That appears to violate, or at least circumvent, the town code, which says that “all public works contracts over $20,000 shall be formally bid pursuant to General Municipal Law.”
It clearly defies the intent of the law, which was designed to eliminate favoritism and provide an even playing field for companies that want to compete for town work.
In other Long Island towns, requirement contracts are generally used for small jobs that pop up unexpectedly during the year.
“Large jobs that are planned and are in excess of $20,000 should be bid out,” said the supervisor of another Long Island town.
Though Smithtown’s code mandates that the town seek at least three bids for public works projects, Jadeco only faced one other company in winning a bid for building handicapped-accessible curb cuts and ramps in August 2004. The town board also extended Jadeco’s contracts at least three different times, avoiding putting additional sidewalk work out for bids, records show.
In fact it’s been pretty tough for any other concrete company to get work from the town of Smithtown, a reason many firms don’t bother.
“I haven’t looked for work in the town because it’s almost impossible to get in,” said Manny Dias, an owner of M&D Concrete in Selden. “They’ve got their own boys.”
Easy payment plan
Jadeco’s special relationship with the town has certainly helped the company’s cash flow. While the town code specifically instructs vendors to allow two to three weeks for approval of purchases, Jadeco usually bills the town
before it even receives a purchase order to do the job. For example, Jadeco gave the town’s highway department a $156,155 invoice dated June 22, 2007 for repairing and replacing curbs at the Hauppauge Industrial Park. The town issued the first purchase order for the work a week later, on June 29.
Smithtown comptroller Anthony Minerva admitted that it’s not supposed to work that way.
“They don’t always do what you want them to do,” Minerva said.
Although vendors usually wait at least 30 days to receive payment from the town, Jadeco routinely “hand-walks their invoices” into town hall so they can get paid on the spot, according to Minerva.
Jadeco was paid $44,196 on Nov. 3, 2004 for a town purchase order dated the same day. The company also got a check for $131,805.40 on Dec. 15 that year, which covered previous work but also a $96,453.35 town purchase order issued the same day.
Not only did Jadeco get paid quicker than other vendors, records show it never gave the town the 1 percent prompt payment discount the company promised when it successfully bid for concrete work in 2003.
Former Smithtown Councilwoman Joanne Gray said she had questioned other councilmen and department heads about Jadeco’s apparent stranglehold on the town’s concrete business.
“They told me that they were satisfied with Jadeco’s work,” Gray said.
That satisfaction totaled $11.4 million for concrete work in 2007 through 2009.
“The town has been very proactive with sidewalks,” Vecchio explained.
Asked about his firm’s domination of the town’s concrete work, Jesse DeAlmeida dismissed his friendship with the supervisor as a factor.
“It’s got nothing to do with me knowing anybody,” DeAlmeida said. “Unless I’m the low bidder I don’t get anything.”
In fact, according to the records furnished LIBN, Jadeco has never lost a bid for concrete work in Smithtown. Town records show the company was the low bidder for concrete work in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009. Although the town didn’t bid out concrete work in 2006 and 2007, Jadeco’s contracts were extended and the company billed Smithtown more than $5 million in those two years.
Meanwhile, Vecchio is a frequent guest of DeAlmeida at the Smithtown Landing golf course, where they’re often spotted together on Saturday mornings. Besides vacationing at DeAlmeida’s place in Florida, Vecchio also enjoys dining with Jesse and Al at such Smithtown-area eateries as Sempre Vivolo and Casa Rustica.
Just dinner out with old friends, according to Vecchio.
“That has nothing to do as far as them bidding for work is concerned,” he said.
(Copyright 2010 Long Island Business News)
CORAM — Today, Congressman Tim Bishop announced that 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have received $250 checks for prescription drug cost relief through the Affordable Care Act. The one-time, tax-free rebates are the first step in permanently closing the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, known as the “donut hole,” for seniors and disabled Americans.
“This is a down payment on the promise to eliminate the donut hole,” Congressman Bishop said. “I have had longstanding concerns with the fact that seniors continue to pay for Part D coverage without collecting benefits. For Long Island seniors who are fighting to make ends meet, this $250 goes a long way.”
Bishop strongly supports efforts to protect America’s most vulnerable citizens as the economy recovers, including the “Seniors Protection Act,” (H.R. 5987) which would provide $250 in relief to retirees and other Social Security beneficiaries if in October it is determined there will be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2011.
He is also a cosponsor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4752), which would authorize the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate drug prices with manufacturers on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.
This year, Medicare expects to distribute 4 million checks, which are sent automatically to beneficiaries once they reach the donut hole. Seniors don’t have to sign up to be eligible for the rebates, and are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE, or go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov, to report any solicitations of personal information from third parties.
Next year, ‘donut hole’ seniors will receive a 50 percent discount on covered brand name medications. Every year, the amount Medicare beneficiaries pay in cost sharing in the ‘donut hole’ will decrease markedly until the coverage gap is closed completely in 2020.
In addition to savings on prescription drugs, Medicare recipients will soon receive other new benefits. Starting on January 1, Medicare beneficiaries will receive free preventive care services like mammograms and certain colon cancer tests and a free annual physical.