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[Update – The DA arraigned Sparaco on dozens of charges of possession of a forged instrument and filing a false instrument (for allegedly falsely reporting petition addresses) and falsely stating that he rented a room to two cousins he then registered to vote]
Legislator Frank Sparaco has been arrested by Rockland authorities the Rockland County Times has learned. The arrest took place this afternoon and was overseen by the Rockland DA’S Office, government sources told the Times. The nature of the charges are expected to be released this evening. It had been rumored Rockland DA Tom Zugibe was investigating Sparaco for petition irregularities allegedly committed during the recent Clarkstown GOP Committee elections.
The Rockland County Times investigated allegations pertaining to the electoral eligibility of newly listed residents at Sparaco’s house and found the accusations to be lacking*, however, possible instances of petition forgery had also been cited by Sparaco critics.
Sparaco had previously been indirectly implicated in petition forgery in a case that led to four months jail time for his mother-in-law Debra Ortutay, former chairwoman of the Rockland Independence Party, during Sparaco’s 2010 Assembly campaign against Ken Zebrowski.
Political background of Day/Sparaco fued
Prior to his arrest Sparaco’s fortunes had already turned. Sparaco was crushed this September in his efforts to gain control of the Clarkstown GOP, largely due to his dubious decision to make the race a referendum on County Executive Ed Day, whom Sparaco often clashed with over the years. Day was drawn into the fight by Sparaco and secured a large turnout for his recommended slate of committeemen and women, which in turn greased the skids for the departure of longtime GOP Chairman Vincent Reda and election of Day loyalist Lawrence Garvey to chair.
In 2013 the Sparaco-controlled Rockland Independence Party nominated Zugibe as man of the year. Zugibe had accepted the party’s nomination in 2011 in spite of the charges against Sparaco’s mother-in-law. Zugibe had previously recused his office from some cases involving Rockland political officials he had relationships with.
Sparaco first won election in 2007 as the then youngest legislator in the county. He represents Valley Cottage and surrounding areas.
Article 36 of the Public Officer’s Law allows any taxpayer in his district to seek Sparaco’s removal from office for misconduct. The Legislature can expel Sparaco if he is convicted of a felony. Sparaco’s term runs through January 2016.
[Correction- This article originally stated that should Sparaco be absent from his duties as legislator it would threaten Ed Day’s efforts to pass his budget. In reality, at this time it is the Democrats who need an additional vote to override Day’s veto and a mere absence by Sparaco would not affect the veto. A veto override requires 12 out of 17 possible votes, the number of absences is irrelevant]
[* Editor’s note – The Times found Sparaco’s story explaining the supposed part-time residence of his cousins plausible, however, we are not yet privied to evidence uncovered by the DA]