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Officials Call for Town Clerk's Resignation After Arrest

Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla is facing criminal misconduct charges.

Supervisor Kate Murray and other Hempstead Town officials are calling for the resignation of Town Clerk Mark Bonilla after his arrest Friday.

According to Newsday, the Republican town clerk "attempted to obtain intimate photos of a female subordinate who had filed a claim of sexual harassment against him."

The complaint, filed by Det. Investigator William Walsh, says that on Aug. 19 Bonilla tried to force one of his employees, Alex Desidoro, to supply him with compromising photos of a female employee who had filed the sexual harassment claim against Bonilla.

According to a release, the town attorney’s office investigated complaints against the clerk and contacted the Nassau District Attorney’s Office with information in this matter. Subsequently, detectives from the district attorney’s office arrested the clerk and charged him with three misdemeanors.

“I am personally offended and disgusted by the alleged conduct of the Town Clerk," Supervisor Murray said in a statement issued by the town. "Public officials must hold themselves above reproach, and the credible allegations that have come to my attention have undermined my trust and confidence in him. As a result, I am calling upon the Town Clerk to immediately resign.”

Bonilla, 50, is charged with official misconduct, second-degree attempted coercion and petty larceny. The charges are all misdemeanors.

Bonilla resides in Bellmore and was last elected to his post in 2011. He is also a former 25-year resident of Seaford who grew up in Levittown and graduated from Island Trees High School. The first Hispanic to be elected to a townwide position in the Town of Hempstead, Bonilla has been in office since 2003.

Information for Bonilla's attorney was not immediately available.

Robert Demarco September 22, 2012 at 05:58 PM
If mamma bear Kate did not protect one of her own, it most likely happened.
Robert Demarco September 22, 2012 at 06:04 PM
With all due respect, the main job of the officials is to fulfill the office to which they were elected. Bonilla's job was to run the Town Clerk's Office. Anything they do on the side is to garner publicity and solicit votes. These politicians show up anywhere there is a camera present. As far as Bonilla, it sounds like TOH conducted an investigation and had findings that warranted it being turned over to the Democratic DA. If this is so, Kate did the right thing for a change. A shame for the peoplke who know and respect Bonilla, but I do not see any political shenanigans here. I do not like the TOH officials, but it looks like they did the right thing in this case.
Lorraine DeVita September 23, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Why would i say such a thing- well lets see- Shes upset this happened on HER watch with one of HER people? You better bet she is spitting mad and embarassed becaseu this is NOT something that can be swept under the rug and one of her cubs got caught? Momma bear is NOT happy- Yes she did the right becasue she HAD to do the right thing so it didnt reflect on her.
Chris Wendt September 23, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I have been a huge supporter and booster of Mark Bonilla. This news is a major disappointment, a real shocker. I really want to reserve judgment until after the facts are all in, however.
V September 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Ha! Maybe Bonernilla was just trying to get the photos for the next mailer.
Jon L. September 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Anyone who knows me and has seen what I post about "Team" Mao Tse Murray knows that I hate these people, loathe them, wish nothing but bad things for them. But I have a real problem with the way this was handled. Who the hell appointed the Town Attorney to run investigations? That is purview of the District Attorney, Police Detectives and in this case perhaps the AUSA for the EDNY (sexual harassment in the workplace and retaliation toward accusers is covered in 548 U.S. 53 (2006) and by statute in 42 USC 2000e-3) I'm so sick of the fiefdom that Washington Avenue has become, in her statement yesterday Chairman Mao says, "I don't think you have to be convicted to be guilty of inappropriate behavior in a professional government setting. Credible allegations of sexual harassment demand that the clerk resign." This totally circumvents the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments. In essence by way of the Town Attorney Chairman Mao has appointed herself as instigator, jury and judge. The Town Attorney should stick to defending the down in lawsuits and get out of the investigations business. Forget about the fact that the Town Attorney should be busy writing the decisions in ZBA decisions after the decision is made an announces (see Sonic ZBE application story), it just does not pass the smell test. An outside agency should have conducted the "investigation" Way to go Mao!
J September 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Amen to that!
ronbo September 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I am a retired gov't operation manger who was in charged of many mangers and supervisors and let me tell you s--t happens, in high level positions and over seeing your employees some people get to involved to closely in there personel lives and this is where it leads to.I sure that Mark is a loving father and a good husband and we are all in shock but lets not be to quick to judge lets let this play out, put him out on administrated leave and see where the investigation goes.
Robert Demarco September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Hi, Jon, You know that I share your sentiments about Kate Murray and her extremely corrupt administration, but I disagree with you in this case. Had this been a private company, an internal investigation would have been conducted by Human Resources, and perhaps their attorney, and a decision would have been rendered. That apparently was done here. In a privare company, if the allegations were credible, appropriate action would have been taken. They probably should terminate Bonilla, if they can within the law, and let the DA determine if criminality exists in this case (weknow there is lots of criminality in Town Hall). Like I said, I also despise Murray, but I cannot find fault with the way she handled this case.
Robert Demarco September 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM
It seems more stuff is surfacing and it does not look good for Bonilla.
Cecelia Sommers September 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
he was probably asking too many questions so this could be a set up. also please attend the oct 3rd meeting at the toh to save levittown from the builders who have somhow gotten to the board on that day please come and support us from this horror thanks
Robert Demarco September 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
A good rule to follow was once put forth by that noted philosopher Tony Soprano: You don't s..t where you eat. Workplace affairs usually end badly.
Jon L. September 23, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Hi Mr. Demarco, I understand what you mean but because Bonilla is an elected official the comparison of a private company is tougher here. While Sexual Harassment would be grounds for termination in the private sector (mainly for at will employees) the dismissal of an elected official is a bit trickier. If for no other reason than the appearance of a politically motivated attack by the executive (in this case Murray) on another elected official I think that it should have been outsourced to another qualified investigatory authority. On the flip side the internal investigation also lends itself to think that the Town would cover up any misgivings by Bonilla. The whole things smells foul. I think that we can find fault for her making hay and headlines out of it by making a ridiculous statement like that. Mike and the rest of her handlers did her a disservice by feeding her a quote like that. I completely understand your point, but I think an external investigation from the start was the right way to go again if for appearance sake alone.
Patrick September 23, 2012 at 01:31 PM
“I am personally offended and disgusted by the alleged conduct of the Town Clerk," Supervisor Murray said in a statement issued by the town. "Public officials must hold themselves above reproach, and the credible allegations that have come to my attention have undermined my trust and confidence in him. As a result, I am calling upon the Town Clerk to immediately resign.” Apparently Kate only believes this to be true of people other than herself. Probably the most hypocritical statement I have read in some time. While Bonilla seems to have really stepped in it, Kate Murray has some nerve making such a remark. Kate Murray has sidestepped or refused to answer all inquiries regarding the TOH Animal Shelter, her rediculous patronage situation, and many of the less than stellar fiscal decisions during her tenure. Just a few of the tidbits that land her, in my opinion, below reproach. Therefore, based on all of the allegations and credible evidence that have come to all of our attention over the past several years that have undermined our trust and confidence in her, I am calling for the TOH Supervisor to immediately resign. I wish we all knew years ago how easy this could be. I would expect the Patch to be printing an artilce about Kate Murrays resignation first thing in the morning after Kate Murray reads this post.
Robert Demarco September 23, 2012 at 01:38 PM
As an organization, I believe the internal investigation was correct. However, Murray being Murray, she had to make some political hay out of it. Perhaps it would have been better for Murray not to give details, and to let the DA make pronouncements. The fact that she threw him under the bus and distanced herself from it so quickly leads me to believe that the allegations are true. I'm sure that Papa Joe told her how to handle the situation.
Robert Demarco September 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Cecelia, with all due respect, what would he be asking questions about? He is only the Town Clerk and does not have a vote on anything. He got himself into trouble. Maybe a midlife crisis.
Lorraine DeVita September 24, 2012 at 02:06 AM
I find it ironic that some people claim the accussed doesnt appear to be the" type" of person to do this type of thing - Most people who engage in this type of behaviour DONT appear to be the "type" because there is NO TYPE . As distasteful this is and outraged we are at this type of behavior .His guilt or innocence needs to proven in a court of law .. Speculation & accusations should not decide his guilt or innocence..He should be suspended with pay as embarrassing that may be to his PARTY and Ms Murray - until he is proven innocent or guilty.
Brian September 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Even Tammany Hall had its problems from time to time, right?
Robert Demarco September 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM
TOH is Tammany Hall East. Eventually Tweed ended up in jail.
paul September 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM
The below is being reposted due to the fact it was deleted or flagged: 9:50 am on Saturday, September 22, 2012 “I am personally offended and disgusted by the alleged conduct of the Town Clerk," Supervisor Murray said in a statement issued by the town. "Public officials must hold themselves above reproach, and the credible allegations that have come to my attention have undermined my trust and confidence in him. As a result, I am calling upon the Town Clerk to immediately resign.” Kate why not see if the charges are founded.. It may be founded or it may be unfounded. Who knows. Case was not heard yet.... Kate, perhaps you may have been given confidential information about the case. If so no more case. And Mark will be charged with, maybe NOTHING....
paul September 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The below is being reposted due to the fact it was deleted or flagged: 9:50 am on Saturday, September 22, 2012 “I am personally offended and disgusted by the alleged conduct of the Town Clerk," Supervisor Murray said in a statement issued by the town. "Public officials must hold themselves above reproach, and the credible allegations that have come to my attention have undermined my trust and confidence in him. As a result, I am calling upon the Town Clerk to immediately resign.” Kate why not see if the charges are founded.. It may be founded or it may be unfounded. Who knows. Case was not heard yet.... Kate, perhaps you may have been given confidential information about the case. If so no more case. And Mark will be charged with, maybe NOTHING....
paul September 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM
The below is being reposted due to the fact it was deleted or flagged: 9:50 am on Saturday, September 22, 2012 “I am personally offended and disgusted by the alleged conduct of the Town Clerk," Supervisor Murray said in a statement issued by the town. "Public officials must hold themselves above reproach, and the credible allegations that have come to my attention have undermined my trust and confidence in him. As a result, I am calling upon the Town Clerk to immediately resign.” Kate why not see if the charges are founded.. It may be founded or it may be unfounded. Who knows. Case was not heard yet.... Kate, perhaps you may have been given confidential information about the case. If so no more case. And Mark will be charged with, maybe NOTHING....
Mitch September 24, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Just another Horn-Dog !
paul September 25, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Mark Bonilla may just be innocent......... http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/long_island&id=8822910 Perhaps Kate should be charged with being a fake a phoney and a fraud...
Brutally Frank September 25, 2012 at 05:43 AM
I love how she has convicted him and he has yet to go to trial. Lovely example being set here.
Brutally Frank September 25, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Your inability to spell is so distracting that I could barely understand what you wrote. There instead of their. To instead of too, lets instead of let's, adiministrated instead of administrative. Jeez and you were a boss?
Lorraine DeVita September 25, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I mean really they changed the LOCKS to his office? How childish and unprofessional of MS Murray and crew, the man is still employed, hasnt resigned, isnt suspended, isnt on leave, you havent fired him so why change the locks. I do not condone sexual harrassment HOWEVER I also do not condone jumping the gun when the person hasnt been convicted of anything YET. If he is guilty then throw the book at him if he isnt then Ms Murray will have egg on her face and probably a huge defamation of character lawsuit in the making ..
BigIdeas September 26, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Where's that photo from? His High School Yearbook?
Jenn September 27, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I just want to point out that there are many people who walk among us that are super-wonderful people who give others everything they have in order to help or to be the "nice guy". Some of those people have ended up murdering their families, discovered to be drug dealers, lied, cheated and stolen -- only to have the friends and neighbors stand up in front of a news camera shaking their heads and saying "but he was so nice/helpful/quiet/polite/caring" etc. I am NOT saying he is or isn't guilty - let the evidence and the law decide, but please stop using a persons previous good behavior to determine their ability to behave badly.
Robert Demarco September 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
And for giving us a chance to sound off and share our views.

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