Lawyers in a case involving accusations that a businessman helped hide contaminated debris at a Deer Park wetlands site said their case is far from finished after meeting with the judge Wednesday.
Garden City attorney John Carman, representing Atlas Asphalt owner Ronald Cianciulli, 49, said outside court he told the judge he wanted to review transcripts of the trial of a two co-defendants, one of whom pleaded guilty to related charges in March.
“It was mostly, ‘Look, I’ve been available for 24 hours to engage on this and I need time to catch up’ and the judge agreed to that time.”DataContaminants found in parksee alsoDocuments: Illegal dumpingMore coverageToxic dumping probe
Cianciulli of Brightwaters is one of six men charged in a 2014 indictment for their alleged roles in dumping contaminated debris in and around Islip town.
Thomas Datre Jr.; his father, Thomas Datre Sr.; Christopher Grabe of Islandia Recycling and former Islip Town parks officials Joseph J. Montuori Jr., an ex-commissioner and his former secretary Brett A. Robinson also were charged in the incidents.
Datre Jr. and his company, 5 Brothers Farming Corp., pleaded guilty March 30 to several felonies, including endangering the public health, safety or the environment, in exchange for prosecutors dismissing charges against his father, who was accused of helping facilitate the dumping at an Islandia site.
Grabe, who had not been on trial with the Datres, also pleaded guilty March 30 to two felonies.
Datre Jr. faces a sentence from 1 to 3 years in prison for his dumping crimes while Grabe faces 6 months in prison, as well as 5 years of probation but state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho deferred Datre Jr. and Grabe’s sentences at that time, provided they help with cleanup efforts at two of the dump sites and the rebuilding of a Brentwood park.
Montuori and Robinson are scheduled for a court appearance on April 21, according to court records. Cianciulli is due back in court May 11.
Carman said Wednesday there “really wasn’t any discussion” of plea deals for Cianciulli during the 10-minute conference in Camacho’s chambers. Prosecutors said it is premature to talk about resolving the case against Cianciulli like they did with Datre Jr. and Grabe.
“We’re not there yet,” Assistant District Attorney Michelle Pitman said Wednesday. “It’s a little too early to see.”
Prosecutors labeled Datre Jr. the “mastermind” behind the plot to truck and dump tens of thousands of tons of contaminated construction and demolition debris from sites in Brooklyn and Queens to four Suffolk properties — Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, a six-home subdivision for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families in Islandia; a private one-acre lot on Islip Avenue in Central Islip; and a property next to a wetlands in Deer Park.
Cianciulli faces six charges related to that Deer Park site, including second-degree criminal mischief, two counts of third-degree endangering public health, safety or the environment, one count of fourth-degree endangering public health, safety or the environment, one count of operating a solid waste management facility without a permit, and one count of engaging in regulated activities within mapped freshwater wetlands without a permit.
Prosecutors allege that Cianciulli, through his company, rented a soil sifter later found near a 300-foot berm created by fill placed illegally at the wetlands area off Sumpwams Creek.
The owners of the Brook Avenue property in Deer Park are April Masie, who testified at the Datre trial, and her mother Margaret Masie. Cianciulli’s company is located a few buildings down from their property.
When the six men were arrested and indicted on Dec. 8, 2014, Pitman described Cianciulli’s “reckless” actions as criminal for “setting up a hiding spot for his friend Tom Datre Jr.” to dump the contaminated materials at the site, which she said “endangered the public.”
Carman has denied any wrongdoing by Cianciulli, calling the accusations against him “easy and sensational” but “untrue” and “impossible to prove.”