CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Prosecutors on Long Island have filed criminal charges against six people, including two former Islip town officials, following an investigation into alleged illegal dumping.

The 32-count indictment includes charges of criminal mischief, conspiracy and numerous environmental violations. All six pleaded not guilty during arraignment on Monday.

“These defendants have poisoned our neighborhoods; contaminated our wetlands; placed families in danger,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The former Islip town parks commissioner, Joseph J. Montuori Jr., and his former executive secretary, Brett A. Robinson, are accused of looking the other way as haulers poisoned park soil. Both were released without bail.

Montuori allegedly told investigators he planned to cover the debris with top soil to hide it from view, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

But their attorneys said their clients would be vindicated.

“We had … no knowledge about any hazardous material — cobalt or anything like that — and he cooperated fully with them,” Patrick O’Connell, Robinson’s lawyer, told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Also among those charged is prominent builder Thomas Datre Sr. and his son, Thomas Datre Jr., a trucker/hauler, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

“I did nothing wrong and that’s what hopefully will be the outcome from here,” Datre, Jr. said.

A relative for the two scoffed at the charges.

“They’re all bogus. It’s a witch hunt. It’s a political witch hunt,” Michele Datre said.

Datre, Jr., the alleged mastermind, is accused of hauling the demolition debris from New York City — avoiding costly legal disposal — and dumping more than 1,700 truckloads at four Long Island sites, Gusoff reported.

Prosecutors began investigating last spring after investigators discovered about 50,000 tons of debris laced with asbestos, pesticides and other material at Islip-owned Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.

Illegal dumping was later found at a housing development for returning military veterans and at two vacant lots in the town.

DA Spota called the indictment a portrait of greed and corruption, Gusoff reported.

The attorney for the Datre family, Kevin Kearon, released a statement saying in part, “History will record that the public crucifixion of the Datre family for the last eight months was one of the lowest, most shameful moments in Long Island history.”

For the full statement on behalf of the Datre family, click here.

Datre Sr. — a philanthropist and political donor — has long claimed they never intentionally dumped anything.

“He’s helped with affordable housing. He built those houses, he started that whole thing for those veterans. How would he even think about doing something that they’re accusing him of?” Michele Datre said.

Roberto Clemente Park has been closed indefinitely and the cleanup at the four sites may take years, Gusoff reported. Town of Islip officials said they hope to have the park reopened by next year.

DA Spota said he is still investigating other possible dump sites and more arrests could be made.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”news” posts_per_page=”4″]

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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.)

Comments

Leave a Reply