Disbanded committee run by New Suffolk woman under fire in N.Y. Times report

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Regina Calcaterra of New Suffolk opening her State Senate campaign in the summer of 2009.
Regina Calcaterra of New Suffolk opening her State Senate campaign in the summer of 2009. (Credit: Tim Kelly, file)

In mid-September, the three co-chairs of a high-powered commission aimed at rooting out corruption in state politics arranged for a meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who set up the commission last summer. In the governor’s mid-town office, William Fitzpatrick, a district attorney from Syracuse, raised concerns he felt were hampering the commission’s effort, the New York Times reported today .

At the center of those concerns were alleged roadblocks  planted by Regina Calcaterra, a New Suffolk attorney who had been appointed the commission’s executive director. The commissioners threatened to quit, alleging that Ms. Calcaterra was running interference on investigations that pointed back to the governor’s office.

Lawrence Schwartz, the secretary to the governor, responded by saying of Ms. Calcaterra: “She is not going anywhere.”

These bombshell revelations were detailed by a three-month New York Times investigation published today. 

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The more than 6,000-word examination details how Ms. Calcaterra ran interference on subpoenas, to the point where the three co-chairs instructed the chief investigator, E. Danya Perry, to hold off on informing Ms. Calcaterra of a subpoena until the last possible moment.

“It is simply not her job to be reviewing subpoenas in the first instance, and certainly not her job to be continually calling off process servers, against your instructions,” Ms. Perry wrote to the co-chairs in September, according to the Times.

In the story, a lawyer for Ms. Calcaterra declined to answer questions. The lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said: “Regina at all times acted in good faith.”

Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through it’s supposed 18-month life, the Times reported.

Ms. Calcaterra ran for New York State Senate in 2010 and also worked as chief of staff for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office. She’s been a prominent figure on the East End. In 2012, she was honored as the Woman of the Year by the East End Women’s Network, an award given each year to a woman who has “exhibited solid leadership responsibilities, commitment to her goals, and achievements in her professional life as well as personal character and service to her community and colleagues,” according to the announcement from 2012.

Ms. Calcaterra’s harrowing memoir, “Etched in Sand,” became a New York Times best-seller after its release last year.

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