A judge Thursday pushed the deadline for removing contaminated debris from a Deer Park wetlands to March but warned three men convicted in the dumping scheme that time is running short on their agreements to clean up the site and a private lot in Central Islip.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho, who has overseen the various trials connected to dumping of debris at several Suffolk sites, cited safety concerns in giving Thomas Datre Jr., Christopher Grabe, and Ronald Cianciulli more time to get rid of the debris at the wetland.
At a hearing in his Central Islip courtroom — two years to the date from when the dumping indictment was unsealed — Camacho said winter conditions could pose a threat to clean up crews at the state-protected wetlands area off Brook Avenue in Deer Park where tens of thousands of tons of debris was dumped in early spring 2014.
Efforts to remove materials at the private one-acre lot at Islip Avenue and Sage Street in Central Islip has continued for the past several weeks, and “although there’s been progress, the progress is not progressing as quickly as the DEC would like,” Camacho said.
Datre Jr. has been “providing resources and assets” to both locations simultaneously, said Camacho, who ordered the three men back to court Jan. 26 for an update on cleanup efforts.
With work on the Deer Park site suspended, the judge said, Datre Jr.’s focus can shift solely on cleaning up the Central Islip property.
He pleaded guilty last March to several felony charges connected to removing debris from construction sites in New York City and dumping it at the Deer Park and Central Islip locations as well as Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, and a six-home Islandia subdivision for veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Grabe, of Islandia Recycling, pleaded guilty the same day for his role in dumping at the park and at the Central Islip site. He also pleaded guilty to a felony tax evasion charge.
Prosecutors at the time of Grabe’s arrest in March 2015 for the tax case said he failed to report $476,281 in income to New York State from 2011 to 2013 and evaded $28,922 in taxes.
Camacho sentenced Grabe Thursday to a conditional discharge and ordered him to pay $57,244 in restitution to the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance.
Datre Jr. agreed in a March plea deal, to help remove debris from the Deer Park and Central Islip sites. Charges against Datre Jr.’s father, Thomas Datre Sr., for facilitating the dumping at Islandia subdivision, were dropped when his son took responsibility for the crimes, prosecutors said then.
Grabe agreed the same day to help cleanup the park and the Central Islip property. Datre Jr. and Grabe agreed to clean up the sites in return for possibly getting reduced prison sentences. After a June bench trial, Camacho found Cianciulli, of Atlas Asphalt, guilty of two felonies and two misdemeanors for aiding Datre Jr. in dumping at the Deer Park site. In July, Cianciulli’s attorney expressed his client’s interest in helping with the wetlands cleanup.
Thursday, Camacho told the three that the March extension is not a “drop-dead date.” The judge said if a “substantial” issue arises and perhaps another month is needed, he would grant another delay.
“But it’s not going to go much beyond that,” said Camacho, who has already extended previous cleanup deadlines at the two sites.
Town of Islip crews removed more than 40,000 tons of debris was from Roberto Clemente Park in the summer of 2015, but its gates remain locked as the 27.9-acre parcel remains in disarray.
Islip Town Parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr., pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to one felony count of endangering the health, safety or environment and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy, in connection with the park dumping. His ex-assistant Brett A. Robinson, pleaded guilty to a violation of disorderly conduct related to the park dumping.
Both were sentenced to conditional discharges on Oct. 21, when Montuori Jr.’s felony plea was reduced to a misdemeanor for cooperating with Islip officials to rehabilitate the park, Camacho said at the time.