BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
Former Legislator Frank Sparaco’s criminal case has concluded with the seven-year veteran lawmaker resigning from his office and accepting eight weekends in county jail for misdemeanor election fraud charges.
Sparaco had been accused of holding petition ballots with four incorrect names and addresses on them. He also had been accused of either lying about two cousins living with him or inviting them to live with him solely for political purposes. One of the cousins had previously been listed as a resident at Sparaco’s Valley Cottage address and served as a Republican committeeman from 2006-2011.
Judge Howard Gerber, who had faced accusations of misbehavior by Clarkstown police himself in 2014, for allegedly inappropriately consulting with a suspect in the Peggy Nadell murder case, read Sparaco the riot act for his so-called fall from grace. Sparaco had upset Gerber by changing lawyers days before he was due to accept his sentencing on April 15.
Sparaco had risen through the ranks of the Republican Party and first won election to the Legislature in 2007. Originally known as a stalwart conservative keen on bashing Democrats, by the end of Sparaco’s tenure he had fallen out with his own party and often sided with the liberals in the County Legislature.
Sparaco’s fortunes took an interesting turn when he led a campaign to gain control of the Independence Party in 2010. Defeating longtime powerbroker Marsha Coopersmith, Sparaco suddenly gained clout in the murky multi-party system of New York politics. How he wielded that clout generated controversy and resentments. Rockland District Attorney Tom Zugibe had complained that third party brokers like Sparaco are “creepy” in past conversations with the Rockland County Times.
The Rockland County Times had maintained during its coverage of the investigation that the case against Sparaco was weak and politically motivated. Sparaco originally said he intended to fight the charges until the DA’s Office began threatening to arrest family members who lived in his house.