Nassau officials call for state probe over Hempstead spending

John Asbury

December 15, 2020

Originally published in Newsday on December 14, 2020.

Lawmakers on Monday called for an investigation by the state comptroller's office into how the town of Hempstead is using it's federal CARES money. Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware

Long Island elected officials on Monday called on the state comptroller’s office to review $70 million in federal COVID-19 funding that Hempstead Town used for payroll. Lawmakers argue the town should have used a bulk of the money to cover the tens of millions in costs that Nassau County has incurred during the pandemic.

"These federal funds were designed and intended to fund essential county workers and support those actively working to stop spread," County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference. "It’s not enough for the town to run a PR campaign for all the ways they’re spending the money and quietly pocket almost half of it at the last minute before the clock ticks out."

Curran, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), and State Sens. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), John Brooks (D-Seaford) and Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) joined the call on Monday for a probe.

Hempstead Town Board members allocated $74 million last week, including $43 million for its sanitation department and $17 million for general services departments such as bay constables, that they deemed public health expenses under recent Treasury guidance. The town also approved about $1 million for villages and fire departments across town.

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