Lazio, Levy Battle Over Secret Tapes, Thanks to Voice


Not that this story ranks anywhere on the new Gawk-O-Meter by which all things Web are now measured, but we still take small satisfaction that a few lines in a Voice story this week prompted live grenades to be tossed back and forth between the two leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor of the state.

This morning, ex-congressman Rick Lazio’s team issued its second press release in two days calling on Suffolk County executive Steve Levy to drop his opposition to releasing tapes of him talking with a pair of aides who were later convicted of trying to sell access to his office. Lazio jumped on the topic after the Voice quoted Levy saying that the tapes — made by investigators for Suffolk County D.A. Thomas Spota back in 2003 — should stay secret to protect “innocent third parties” — such as himself.

“What’s Levy Hiding?” was Lazio’s first blast. Today’s release continued the thread, adding revelations of a Newsday exclusive about Levy campaign donors who also won county business: “Levy Continues to Hide Wiretaps As New Allegations of Pay-to-Play Are Exposed.”

Team Levy is silent today on the tapes subject, instead opting to call for deep drilling in the Marcellus Shale upstate. But yesterday it fired back with both barrels, accusing Lazio of “spreading lies and distortions” about Levy’s record of ethics reform. It also threw a jab at the ex-congressman for taking a $1.3 million bonus as a Wall Street banker.

This Voice-inspired skirmish was noted in Albany, Long Island, and various city sites, not that that counts for anything.

Meanwhile, D.A. Spota’s office, which has received freedom of information requests for the Levy wiretap material from several media outlets, has said it will decide in a two weeks whether or not to release them.