GOP Chairman Cairo to get paid by party, OTB and law firm

Rebecca Klar
Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo, third from left, with other Republicans at a previous Nassau County event in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Nassau County)

Former Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello collected multiple paychecks while leading the party, and his successor, Joseph Cairo, is set to do the same.

Cairo, 72, also serves as head of the Nassau County Off-Track Betting Corp. and has a Valley Stream-based law firm.

Cairo gets $198,000 as the head of the OTB, according to the New York Post, which also reported that Mondello at one point served in both those capacities simultaneously, too.

Cairo doesn’t see a conflict in serving in both positions, according to Tom Van Riper, a Nassau County Republican spokesman.

“Other political leaders have done this, Democrats and Republicans,” Van Riper said. “He did discuss this with our attorneys, just to kind of make sure, but as far as serving as president of OTB and … being a political leader as chairman of Nassau County Republicans he does not feel there’s any legal or ethical conflict at all.”

The situation is not uncommon for political players on Long Island, according to Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.

Levy told CBS New York that patronage is a “political way of life” on Long Island.

“It is what greases the wheels of political organizations, provides their foot soldiers, provides their donations,” Lawrence said.

The issue of Cairo’s dual roles arises after a series of corruption scandals across the island in both parties.

Former Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto were recently on trial on charges of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest services wire fraud.

Venditto was found not guilty on all counts and Mangano’s case ended in a mistrial.

In North Hempstead, former Democratic Party Chairman Gerard Terry was sentenced late last month to three years in prison for federal tax evasion.

The New York Post also reported that Cairo’s legal license was revoked in the 1990s for misuse of client funds.

Cairo told the Post that was “something that happened” 25 years ago, adding, “I think people who know me know the type of person I am.”

Before taking over for Mondello, who served as party chairman since 1983, Cairo had been serving as first vice chairman of the party and worked closely with Mondello.

Cairo also served as the North Hempstead Republican leader for several years.

Mondello stepped down after being nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago by President Donald Trump on March 19.

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