Suffolk lawmaker postpones domestic violence fundraiser after Newsday article raises questions about PAC

The Majority Leader of the Suffolk County Legislature on Wednesday postponed a fundraiser for an anti-domestic violence group after Newsday published a story that raised questions about the event, which allegedly directed payments to his committee of political action.

Legis. Nick Caracappa (C-Selden), whose own domestic violence case is ongoing, announced the postponement on social media hours before the scheduled event. Flyers had solicited donations at the behest of his political action committee, Suffolk Solutions, which he told Newsday would distribute money to community groups including Freebird Organization, a newly created.

A flyer posted to its Facebook page said: ‘Tonight’s White Party has been postponed so that all necessary precautions can be taken for a successful business.

He also wrote: “We currently have a team of experts reviewing the organization’s donation mechanisms to ensure that contributions made to Suffolk Solutions for this event are dedicated exclusively to supporting victims of abuse.”

He promised to organize the event in the future.

In a brief phone interview with Newsday on Wednesday evening, Caracappa confirmed that he posted the messages on social media and hung up. He did not respond to a follow-up call.

Nonprofit experts had criticized the event’s social media promotions as having the potential to mix charity and political activity, which is prohibited by federal law.

Caracappa, 55, a longtime union leader, said the event was apolitical. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2020, shortly before being arrested and charged with respiratory obstruction and criminal contempt for allegedly suffocating his then estranged wife.

Caracappa called the charges fabricated and a judge in March adjourned his criminal case for a year, after which it will be thrown out if he fulfills a protective order and stays out of trouble.

Nonprofit experts have criticized lawmaker Nick Caracappa’s social media promotions of an anti-violence fundraiser as having the potential to mix charity and political activity, which is prohibited by federal law. .
Credit: Steve Pfost

Flyers for Caracappa’s $150 per person gala, with sponsorships of up to $5,000, describe Freebird as “advocating for and supporting victims of domestic violence and their children.” In June, the organization changed its public company status from a limited liability company to a nonprofit, records show, because it applied for recognition from the Internal Revenue Service as an organization. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity.

RSVPs for the benefit were to be sent to an “ELECTNICKCARACAPA” email address.

Freebird attorney Vincent Grande III of Copiague wrote in a text message Wednesday that the organization had no comment. He said earlier in the week that the group had registered with the state attorney general’s charities office pending a decision from the IRS.

Presiding officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) did not return calls for comment. Democratic Minority Leader Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon) declined to comment.

Grande’s previous statement said Freebird “did not solicit any input” and “does not know and still do not know what benefit they would receive” from Caracappa’s event.

Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch, a Chicago-based watchdog group, wrote in an email Wednesday that she hoped the postponement “is a sign that those who mix charity and politics have gotten the message that ‘They would do well to tread very, very carefully.

Caracappa, who won the election with support from both Republicans and Conservatives, said he chose Freebird as his first fundraiser because of how quickly he connected a woman he referred to. refuge and support resources after alleging partner abuse. The organization’s Facebook page also promotes clothing drives, legal services and self-defense classes.

In December 2020, Suffolk Police arrested Caracappa at his home. He faced charges after it was determined he had breached a protective order, a felony charge that was dismissed.

On March 4, Acting State Supreme Court Justice John Iliou adjourned the case against Caracappa for a year for remand and granted Caracappa’s ex-wife an injunction. one year protection.

With Paul LaRocco

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