A leading Republican candidate hoping to be selected for the special election to fill George Santos’s seat is currently settling a class-action lawsuit in California for unpaid wages — at least the second lawsuit for wage violations brought against his company in recent years. Mike Sapraicone, the owner of international security company Squad Security, was accused by two men of violating wage and other laws, according to a 2022 lawsuit.
The lawsuit, not previously reported, is the latest revelation to emerge about Long Island’s Sapraicone, amid national scrutiny over how well candidates will be vetted by the Nassau GOP in the district, on the heels of Santos’s year-long scandal and criminal allegations. Sapraicone is a sixty-seven-year-old retired New York Police Department detective — and his firm Squad Security claims on LinkedIn that “all our employees are active or retired law enforcement.”
The special election for the vacant seat in New York’s 3rd congressional district that the disgraced Santos flipped red in 2022 has been set for February 13 by Governor Kathy Hochul. Last week, New York Democrats chose former representative Thomas Suozzi as their candidate. The GOP field has several contenders, but Sapraicone has emerged as a favorite, according to multiple Nassau County GOP insiders, and is the current fundraising leader, according to his most recent FEC filings.
Squad Security operates in ten states and Canada, and is a “a full service security, investigations and protection company” that has served Fortune 500 corporations including Apple, according to its website. The company is currently settling a 2022 class-action lawsuit which alleged that Squad Security failed to pay wages, provide lawful meal and rest periods and reimburse employees. Two similar lawsuits brought by two California employees were combined into one for settlement purposes. In June Sapraicone signed a declaration in support of preliminary approval of the settlement which awards $575,000 in total to the two plaintiffs and up to 100 John Does.
The proposed settlement states that the defendant “strongly denies violating any laws or failing to pay any wages” and that “defendant is settling this matter to avoid further litigation expenses and disruption to its business.”
Squad Security, headquartered in Uniondale, New York, received a PPP loan for $1.3 million in April 2020. The loan has been forgiven in full.
The current lawsuit is not the only class-action lawsuit that Sapraicone’s firm has settled. In 2017, Nathan Tapper and another Squad Security employee brought a similar suit against the security company.
That lawsuit, settled in 2018, awarded Tapper and other employees an average of $1,579, while the biggest payout was $26,832. The amount varied depending on how many overtime hours the guards and off-duty officers worked.
“This is the type of businessman he is,” Tapper told The Spectator in a phone interview: “They would lower your hourly rate when they paid you overtime from thirty-six an hour to twenty-eight. [An employee] at the company found out about it and alerted us,” he said.
Tapper, who retired as a police officer in Los Angeles before working for Squad, said when he found out that Sapraicone was running for Congress, he imagined that voters in New York just didn’t know his background.
“Over the past thirty years, it was a privilege to employ and support hundreds of active and retired law enforcement professionals,” Sapraicone said. “States like California and New York with liberal political leaders often make it easy for litigious attorneys to bring lawsuits against businesses, further hurting our economy. This is another reason I’m running for Congress — to ensure we get our nation back on the right track.”
Squad Security did not respond to a request for comment. Attorneys representing the three plaintiffs also declined to comment.
Nassau County GOP chairman Joe Cairo said he planned to interview twenty-two candidates for the candidate slot and that vetting would be a high priority: “We will do an extensive research on them. We’ll engage an outside firm and we’ll come up with the best candidate, a candidate who gives us the best opportunity as Republicans to win and the candidate who will best serve the people of the 3rd congressional district,” he told CBS News.
“For months all signs have pointed to Sapraicone as the preferred choice of the Nassau GOP establishment,” a Nassau Republican insider told The Spectator, “but it’s unlikely he can withstand the scrutiny that comes with replacing Santos. The party’s reputation absorbed a debilitating hit from Santos.”
On X, Santos posted an endorsement of Sapraicone that the candidate himself later disavowed, calling Santos a “crook and fraudster.” Sapraicone has repeatedly tried to distance himself from the Santos scandal, telling Newsmax that “former representative George Santos’s brief time in the US House of Representatives showed that Long Island Republicans must vet their candidates better.”
Sapraicone has donated $20,970 to the Nassau County Republican Committee this year so far, according to county filings, and also donated to neighboring Representative Anthony d’Esposito. A report in Politico last week described how Sapraicone settled a lawsuit when he was a NYPD detective for withholding evidence, leading to a wrongful incarceration. Sapraicone previously made remarks about being afraid of a black man on a podcast, also uncovered by Politico’s Playbook.
Interestingly, Sapraicone has, according to Newsday, donated $39,000 to Suozzi since 2016, who would be his opponent if he is selected by the Nassau GOP. Sapraicone’s wife Eileen Daly Sapraicone was elected as a Nassau County Family Court judge in 2017, running on both the Democrat and Republican lines.
An announcement from the New York Republicans about their chosen candidate is due as soon as this week, sources close to the party told The Spectator.