Judge: Muttontown must get Old Brookville police financials
Old Brookville must deliver to Muttontown the police financial records and analyses it kept from the final years the villages were partnered in the department, a state Supreme Court judge ruled.
Muttontown broke with what is now the six-village Old Brookville Police Department in May 2011 and formed its own force. It now seeks "the accounting in order to assist it in determining its past and winding-up obligations," Judge John M. Galasso wrote in a decision last month in Nassau County.
The decision is the latest in a neighbors' feud that has played out in courts since Muttontown's departure from the Old Brookville police force after more than three decades struck a blow to the department budget and led to layoffs. Muttontown had paid about 25 percent of the budget, though it was one of seven members.
Muttontown officials said they hope to determine whether the funds they contributed in the last five-year contract were used in termination pay afforded to police officers in the new contract, of which Muttontown isn't a part.
The village asked for the "accounting" of finances in a complaint filed against Old Brookville's mayor, its treasurer, the village itself and the other five North Shore villages that remain partners in the police department. It claimed a breach of fiduciary duty as set in the old contract after it said Old Brookville denied its requests for financial records and subsequent analyses.
"The money needs to be followed and needs to be added up," Muttontown Mayor Julianne W. Beckerman said last week. She added that Muttontown was seeking its pro rata share of the assets as well as hoping to take responsibility for the proportional share of any debt.
"In light of the true character and over all effect of the transactions between the villages, plaintiff is entitled to an accounting as of right, even without asserting a specific wrongdoing on the part of Old Brookville," Galasso wrote in his decision.
Old Brookville Mayor Bernard Ryba declined to comment. The attorney to which he referred questions, Uniondale-based Jeffrey Forchelli, did not return calls for comment.
Old Brookville has launched a related and ongoing lawsuit that alleges Muttontown breached its contact and owes monetary damages. Muttontown may file for a dismissal or submit a counterclaim, village attorney Steven Leventhal said.