One of Smithtown's garbage contractors and two of its owners have been charged with enterprise corruption and other crimes after a 4-year investigation, a Suffolk prosecutor said Thursday in court.
Robert Garofalo, 64; his cousin, Mario Garofalo, 60, and the Brentwood company that Mario Garofalo owns, V. Garfola Carting, all were indicted Thursday and pleaded not guilty. State Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro freed Mario Garofalo on a $100,000 bond and Robert Garofalo on a $50,000 bond.
Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell, chief of the district attorney's office's investigative division and one of District Attorney Timothy Sini's top aides, said the investigation began under Sini's predecessor, Thomas Spota, after a complaint from the town.
O'Donnell said that under the company's contract with the town, it was to collect garbage within the town and dispose of it at the Covanta plant on the Huntington town line. Carters were required to sign a manifest stating where garbage came from within the town, she said.
But Garofalo instead collected waste from all over Long Island and claimed in the manifests that it came from only Smithtown -- essentially sticking the town and its taxpayers with hundreds of thousands of dollars in phony charges and then pocketing the payments O'Donnell said.
"The Garofalos have been a family business for 57 years," said Mario Garofalo's attorney, Raymond Perini of Huntington."They have served their company well."
He accused prosecutors of trying "to take away his [client's] reputation."
Robert Macedonio, the Islip Terrace attorney representing Robert Garofalo and the corporation, said the company's track record is "stellar."
Town officials said they are working to cope with the situation.
"There’s a lot of information we’re still in the process of gathering," town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo said. "We should know more about where we are, regarding ... suits, damages and replacing bids at some point early Friday. Counsel will brief the supervisor and town board at that time as well as advise on how to best protect the taxpayer from these rare but unfortunate circumstances from happening in the future."
The Garofalo brothers were arrested during the execution of a search warrant Thursday morning at the company's Brentwood offices. During the raid, the district attorney's office seized computers, paper records and dirt samples for environmental testing.
-- With Nicholas Spangler.