Salvage yard owner pleads guilty to misdemeanor in dumping case
A Glen Cove salvage yard owner pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor Wednesday, settling a felony environmental crimes case that began with authorities accusing him of illegally dumping thousands of gallons of toxins at his business near a ballfield.
John Doxey, 45, of Muttontown, had faced numerous felony charges following his May 2012 arrest, when prosecutors alleged Doxey and his employees ripped apart vehicles without first draining automotive fluids that then soaked into the ground.
He pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree count of endangering public health, safety or the environment in connection with activity at his business, 4 Park Place Corp., located just south of the Glen Cove Waterway. A Nassau judge gave Doxey a conditional discharge, with the agreement that he will finish cleaning up the land under the state Department of Environmental Conservation's supervision.
The plea followed a July consent order from the DEC that leveled a $25,000 civil fine against Doxey -- a fine his lawyer, Nancy Bartling, said Wednesday he's paid.
She also said her client has finished 95 percent of the site cleanup.
"He was overcharged," the Mineola attorney said. "At the end of the day, this was a case of minor soil contamination that he cleaned up very easily. He wants to move on and continue to operate his business."
Bartling also said the city of Glen Cove had reached a separate civil settlement with her client.
The mayor's chief of staff, Zefy Christopoulos, said Wednesday city officials had no comment regarding Doxey.
Authorities had said the DEC found high concentrations of petroleum, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid and antifreeze on Doxey's 1-acre property, which is across the street from a baseball field and next to a former brownfield site that was decontaminated in 2011.
The probe started after a tip from someone renting office space in a nearby building.
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement Wednesday her office pursued the case "to make sure that this defendant would be held accountable for his crimes" and ensure he'd pay for the cleanup.