"Democratic Nassau Legis. David Mejias, in a letter dated Oct. 21 from his law office, complains to Democratic District Attorney Kathleen Rice and to the county ethics board that Republicans had a county employee photograph him and other Democrats specifically to place the images in attack mailings.
The complaint is directed at Minority Leader Peter Schmitt's deployment of county photographer Michael Tamborino on Sept. 24 when the Legislature was in session. "On Oct. 10, 2007," he states, "the pictures taken during that legislative session were used in partisan political literature/propaganda," Mejias says.
One ad displays a photo of a nut and bolt, with the proclamation "this is a machine product." It is juxtaposed with a photo of the gesturing Mejias and the punchline: "So is this." Another piece uses the same purportedly county-provided photo and accuses Mejias of "playing politics and costing property taxpayers a fortune." Both were included as exhibits in Mejias' complaints.
Mejias, a recent resident of Farmingdale, faces Republican challenger Joseph Belesi at the polls tomorrow in a widely-watched race. There was no immediate response from Schmitt's office.
"Peter J. Schmitt may believe that his use of Michael Tamborino, a county employee, during working hours (and using a county-woned camera and film) for the advancement of his partisan political beliefs is appropriate and proper," Mejias wrote. "Clearly, it is not." He cites a section of local law barring use of county resources in furtherance of professional or political interests.
To the board, Mejias requests public censure for Schmitt, a forfeit of pay and a fine."