OPINION/THE POINT Gilgo update for $150 a plate?

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The Facebook post by Campaign Strategy & Consulting, left, and...

The Facebook post by Campaign Strategy & Consulting, left, and Manny Vilar’s Facebook post announcing “an evening with Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney.”

Will Tierney go to Southampton fundraiser for GOP legislative candidate? 

The Gilgo Beach murders and the upcoming trial of accused serial killer Rex Heuermann are on the minds of many Long Islanders, apparently even those attending political fundraisers. 

For weeks, a $150-a-plate event for Manny Vilar, the GOP candidate for Suffolk Legislature, has promised a “Special Law Enforcement Update From the Suffolk County DA’s Office.” 

According to Vilar’s campaign site on Facebook, Suffolk County DA Ray Tierney will attend the Aug. 23 fundraiser. And according to a posting by Campaign Strategy & Consulting, a Smithtown firm overseeing Vilar’s campaign and promoting the event, the presentation will provide “an update on the Long Island Serial Killer by the District Attorney’s office. Can’t wait for this one.” 

However, when The Point called about this fundraiser, Tierney’s office disavowed any promised Gilgo update by the DA at this Vilar event. 

“We’ve asked them to remove that,” said Allen Bode, Chief Assistant District Attorney in the Suffolk DA’s office, about the social media post promoting a DA presentation. 

Bode said Tierney would never capitalize on the grisly Gilgo murders by appearing at any outside fundraiser. Bode said he wasn’t sure if Tierney will attend Vilar’s Aug. 23 event, which will feature GOP Suffolk County Executive candidate Edward P. Romaine and other local Republican bigwigs. 

Contacted by The Point, Vilar said he hasn’t been in touch with Tierney about the fundraising promotion, but recently decided on his own to pull mention of the DA from the social media promotion of his fundraiser. However, as of Wednesday, all of Vilar’s Facebook postings were still online promoting a DA presentation at the Aug. 23 event. 

Vilar said his campaign did nothing improper, but can understand why the public might get the wrong impression about tying the Gilgo publicity to his fundraiser. Vilar, who is running against Democrat Ann Welker for Suffolk’s Second Legislative District seat, had nothing but praise for the District Attorney. 

“Ray Tierney has been a very accessible DA and he goes to many community events,” Vilar said. Vilar’s Aug. 23 event will be held at Captain Jack’s On The Coast in Southampton. 

Soon after the July arrest, Tierney’s own campaign committee — “Ray Tierney for DA” — sent out an email to supporters touting his Gilgo work. The July email from Tierney’s campaign committee did not contain an overt funding pitch. “Your support led directly to solving these serial killings,” Tierney said in the email. “Without your support, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and this significant case would likely not have been solved. Thank you again for your help and expect more good things to come.” 

Bode said Tierney is careful to follow professional ethical guidelines for prosecutors and avoid any appearance of impropriety in his public appearances. 

— Thomas Maier thomas.maier@newsday.com