The last of defendants in a dumping scheme in Suffolk County was sentenced Wednesday, capping a series of cases that launched in 2014 after the dumping was first discovered.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho ordered that Atlas Asphalt owner Ronald Cianciulli be discharged on the conditions that he pay $25,000 to his victim, landowner April Masie of Wantagh, and that he satisfy any remaining requirements by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in cleaning the Deer Park wetlands site of contaminated debris.
In court in Central Islip on Wednesday, Cianciulli said that he regretted any harm to Masie.
“I do feel terrible that the Masies had to go through all of this,” he said. “If they ever need anything from me in the future, I’m always available to help.”
Masie let out a quiet laugh from the back of the courtroom when he spoke.
“If he had never brought this situation to our doorstep, none of this would be necessary,” Masie said in a statement before the court. “I feel that there should be consequences for his actions.”
Cianciulli, of Deer Park, was found guilty of two felonies and two misdemeanors after a bench trial before Camacho in June 2016. He was found not guilty of the top charge, second-degree criminal mischief, a D-class felony, and of a violation of engaging in regulated activities within mapped freshwater wetlands without a permit.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Michelle Pitman said after court that she had sought a tougher sentence for Cianciulli in the hope that it would send a message to others who would engage in illegal dumping.
“I respect the decision of the court,” she said. “I wish there were more severe consequences for Mr. Cianciulli’s actions. I would hope it would set a deterrent effect in Suffolk County, because this stuff is happening every day.”
When explaining his decision, Camacho said “it is so tempting to send a message” by sentencing Cianciulli harshly, but he believed justice required that he draw a distinction between the defendant and Thomas Datre Jr.
Suffolk prosecutors have called Datre the “mastermind” behind the dumping scheme at the wetlands location and three other sites: Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, a 1-acre private lot in Central Islip and a six-home subdivision for veterans in Islandia. Datre was sentenced in April to one year in jail for each of the four class-E felonies he pleaded guilty to in March 2016, to be served concurrently.
“Tom Datre Jr. would not be able to do what he did without Ronald Cianciulli,” Camacho said. “I understand that, I appreciate that. But Ronald Cianciulli is not Tom Datre Jr.”
Cianciulli’s sentencing marks the final disposition of charges included in a December 2014 dumping indictment, which included Cianciulli; Datre; his father, Thomas Datre Sr.; Christopher Grabe of Islandia Recycling; and former Islip Town Parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and his former secretary, Brett A. Robinson.
Charges against Datre Sr. were dropped. Grabe pleaded guilty in March 2016 and received a split sentence of six months, with 30 days to be spent in jail and the remaining five months spent doing community service. Montuori and Robinson were sentenced to conditional discharges.