Members of the Nassau Democratic Caucus joined outside of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola Thursday afternoon and demanded that Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano reimburse residents for Monday's vote, which will cost taxpayers $2 million.
If Monday's referendum vote had passed, Islanders owner Charles Wang would have footed the $2 million bill himself, but as a result of its failure, the burden now falls on Nassau residents.
“Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano should reimburse county tax payers for the senseless and irresponsible waste of tax payer money,” said Leg. Diane Yatauro, D-Glen Cove, the Nassau Legislature’s Democratic Minority Leader.
Earlier this week, Mangano said he had "no regrets" about holding the vote.
A statement from County Spokesman Brian R. Nevin Thursday defended Mangano and his reasoning for holding the vote.
"Our nation is built upon democracy and the right to vote," Nevin said in the statement. "It is shameful that the Nassau County Democrats would dishonor those who fought to defend these rights by suggesting that a vote should not have occurred. ... County Executive Mangano let the people of Nassau County determine the future of the Nassau Coliseum."
Monday's county-wide referendum vote allowed for residents to approve Mangano's plan to borrow $400 million to construct a new Coliseum and a minor league baseball field. It was hoped that this plan, if approved, would retain the Islanders at the team's current location, as well as solicit interest from minor league baseball teams in a new stadium adjacent to the Coliseum.
"The county should have placed the Coliseum question on the November ballot when specific details might have been available and more residents could have voted at no additional expense," Leg. Judi Bosworth, D-Great Neck, said. "The Mangano administration needs to be held accountable for these funds and let us all know how he is going to reimburse our depleted county coffers.”
Most Democrats opposed the referendum vote due to a lack of specific information as to how the development plans would benefit the county. Many Democrats had also favored holding the referendum vote at the time of the Nov. 8 general elections to assure greater voter participation.
“Since Mr. Mangano totally disregarded our advice to hold this election in November when county residents as well as elected officials would have greater access to specific details pertaining to any HUB development, he should reimburse the county for this wasteful use of tax payer money,” Yatauro said.