Kevin VeseyFeb 16, 2017, 11:51 pmFeb 17, 2017, 7:26 am

Hempstead town officials taken to court after refusing audit by Nassau County's comptroller

Comptroller says he is investigating claims of abuse as the town's animal shelter.

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Serious allegations are being brought against the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter by animal activist Diane Madden, an East Meadow resident who ran unsuccessfully for town council in 2013.

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, a Democratic candidate for county executive, says Madden is just one of several residents who have made claims of animal abuse at the shelter.

In response, Maragos tried to audit the facility but says the town refused to let his staff inside, claiming the county did not have the authority to investigate anything but the shelter's finances.

“They're stonewalling an elected office that clearly has the authority to go in and audit every aspect of the town's operation and how their money and services are provided to the residents,” Maragos said.

He believes that the shelter has something to hide.

Maragos has issued subpoenas to the town and the shelter as well as Supervisor Anthony Santino and Shelter Director Michael Pastore, demanding that they turn over documents needed to conduct the audit.

Nobody at the shelter would comment but Town Spokesman Mike Deery maintains that the county comptroller has no right to investigate the shelter and denied any wrongdoing at the facility.

"The most recent inspection review by New York State gave the shelter its highest grade in every category. What's more, the shelter's animal control officers have just received the highest ratings available by New York State's department of agriculture and markets," Deery said in a written statement.

The animal activist is suing the town for defamation of character, that lawsuit will go to court next month.

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