Central Islip attorney Frank Tinari unwittingly eluded being kidnapped by a disgruntled client twice in one day last year, according to his testimony Tuesday.
Tinari, now chairman of the Suffolk Conservative Party, testified he had no idea that Glenn Terry, 48, formerly of Holtsville, had returned to Long Island armed with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, 50,000-volt Taser, 1.2 million-volt Zap stun gun, Rambo knife, pepper spray and handcuffs.
Police have testified that after they pulled Terry over for traffic offenses on March 27, 2015, he eagerly told them that he wanted to grab Tinari, duct-tape his mouth, stuff him in the trunk of his car and take him to his father’s basement, where he intended to soak him in gasoline.
Officers said the strange conversation began after they noticed a Taser cartridge in his car.
Terry is on trial in Central Islip before state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho, charged with second-degree attempted kidnapping and several weapons offenses. He faces 34 2/3 to 44 years in prison if convicted.
Terry told police he waited about an hour to abduct Tinari in front of the lawyer’s office building on Carleton Avenue the morning of March 27.
But Tinari testified Tuesday that the only parking in front is for visitors and handicapped people, so he parked as usual in the large lot behind the building and used a rear entrance.
Terry was pulled over at about 12:15 p.m. on his way back to try again to kidnap Tinari, who said he walked out the front of the building at 12:45 p.m. His wife, District Court Judge Marian Tinari, was waiting to take him to lunch.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Peter Timmons, Tinari said he was reluctant from the start to get involved in Terry’s personal injury case. Terry sued in 2002, a few months after suffering severe burns when he fell into a bathtub full of scalding water.
Terry wanted Tinari to appeal the dismissal of the suit against the oil company and contractor that installed the hot water system, but Tinari said he refused. He noted that the system was installed 20 months before and hadn’t scalded anyone until Terry fell into the tub.
“I think it was at best a weak case,” Tinari said.
But after another lawyer got the dismissal overturned on appeal, Tinari said Terry asked him to handle the case and he agreed. The case went to mediation and Terry was offered $450,000. Tinari said he advised his client to accept it, arguing that a jury might decide it was Terry’s fault he fell in the tub and award him nothing.
“You would be foolish to turn down a settlement of $450,000,” Tinari said he told Terry.
Terry agreed, but almost immediately changed his mind, prompting Tinari to explore withdrawing the settlement with state Supreme Court Justice Paul Baisley Jr.
After the judge told Terry the risks of going to trial, he agreed to take the settlement in December 2008.
But a few years later, Terry began calling and showing up unannounced at his office, Tinari said. He wanted the case reopened.
“I told him the case is over,” Tinari said. “There was no legal mechanism to reopen it. I was shocked that he was upset.”
Tinari said he asked Terry if he’d spent all the money, and his former client told him it was gone.
After that, Terry’s letters became more belligerent, Tinari said.
“I’m tired of you insulting my intelligence,” one letter from March 2015 began. It ended, “Every man has his breaking point.”
During cross-examination, defense attorney Marc Gann of Mineola focused on Tinari’s political career. In his opening statement, Gann argued that police and prosecutors made more than necessary of a typical lawyer-client dispute because of Tinari’s political prominence.
All of the police officers and detectives in the case so far have testified they had never heard of Tinari.