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Suffolk County DA Spota Rejects Calls To Resign Amid Corruption Claims

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A veteran Long Island prosecutor is refusing calls by a top elected official to resign.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone claims District Attorney Thomas Spota's office failed to prosecute possible criminal activity uncovered in wiretaps. The allegations were reported by Newsday.

Bellone alleged his fellow Democrat was behind a "culture of corruption" that "destroys lives" and "undermines justice."

Around lunchtime Thursday, Bellone walked into Spota's office in Hauppauge to hand deliver a letter asking for the district attorney's resignation, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

"For violating your sacred oath and using your position as the top law enforcement officer of this county. Tom Spota you must resign from office," Bellone said.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, Spota refused.

Spota, who has been district attorney since 2002, vehemently denies any wrongdoing and said he is not resigning. The district attorney said Bellone has a "personal vendetta" against him because he investigated and prosecuted people close to the county executive, including a childhood friend.

"And that's why he wants me out of office," Spota said. "He thinks that perhaps another prosecutor will do what he wants and choose to look the other way."

The tit for tat came following some explosive allegations that the DA tried to conceal the criminal past of former Chief of Department James Burke, blocked federal law enforcement from working on the Gilgo Beach serial murder case, and failed to prosecute possible criminal activity uncovered in wiretaps of politically connected defense attorney Robert Macedonio.

Burke pleaded guilty earlier this year to assaulting a man who had stolen items from the police chief's vehicle.

Spota said he had no inkling the chief was involved in wrongdoing.

"This culture of corruption which perverts this government, which destroys lives, which undermines justice cannot be allowed to continue. It must be swept out," Bellone said.

Spota fired back.

"I've never said it before, but I will say it now. The County Executive made and did make in the past, multiple personal pleas to me in the presence of other prosecutors not to investigate or prosecute people he was close to," he said.

Suffolk's Republican caucus called the feud humiliating.

"They both should resign. First of all this is an embarrassment the way they are both going at it like this -- look at it plain and simple they were both wrong," Suffolk County Legislator Robert Trotta (R) said.

Spota said he has no intention of resigning, has nothing to hide, and would welcome the governor's oversight.

Spota has been the Suffolk DA since 2001. When last re-elected he had no major party opposition. Both Bellone and Spota are democrats.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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