The release of a report on the investigation of allegations against Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci triggered a war of words Saturday between town Republican and Democratic chairmen.
Republican chairman Tom McNally fired first, issuing a release shortly before midnight Friday, saying the investigation had “cleared Lupinacci of any wrongdoing,” and adding, “It appears Councilwoman Joan Cergol used her position on the Town Board to instigate the investigation against a political adversary based on a fourth-hand rumor without a shred of evidence.”
Cergol had reported the allegations when she first heard of them, which ultimately led to the Town Board deciding unanimously to seek the investigation. McNally also said Cergol should reimburse the town for $47,000 toward the cost of the investigation.
A few hours later, Democratic chair Frank Petrone denounced the McNally letter, saying, “Claims that this investigation was politically motivated are preposterous,” and drew a comparison between allegations in this report and a pending case involving former aide Brian Finnegan.
And, he added, “Arriving on the heels of this week’s felony arrest of the Lupinacci administration’s former maritime services director along with news reports of the Town’s building department in utter disarray– up to and including the 2020 resignation of its public safety director for lewd and inappropriate comments directed at a female employee, this report’s conclusions are sadly emblematic of dysfunction and deceit in the Lupinacci administration.”
Cergol said Tuesday, “McNally has to be reading the Disney version of this investigative report because by anyone’s read and estimation of it, there is no fairytale ending.
“The GOP Chair’s nonsensical statement is a paper-thin political ploy intended to distract from the investigator’s disturbing conclusion of being “stymied” by uncooperative witnesses. Notice he also fails to mention the fact that the investigation was launched by 5-0 vote including two Republican councilmen. He is fooling no one except himself.”
The report was released just as both political organizations are deciding on candidates for Town Board and supervisor.