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Oyster Bay official Frederick Ippolito to be deposed again over voice mail

Frederick Ippolito, commissioner of Planning and Development, attends

Frederick Ippolito, commissioner of Planning and Development, attends an Oyster Bay Town Board meeting on Friday, Feb. 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Ted Phillips

Oyster Bay Town's planning and development Commissioner Frederick Ippolito has been ordered to submit to a second deposition by May 7 on how he obtained a private voice mail made by an attorney involved in a lawsuit against him and the town.

The issue of the voice message was first raised in January when the town's outside counsel, Christopher Kendric of Garden City, sought to depose attorney John Palmer of Mineola, whose client, Philip Morizio, had sued the town after officials padlocked his restaurant, Cafe Al Dente, in 2013. Town officials said Morizio had failed to correct health and building code violations.

In January, Kendric introduced a transcript of a voice mail left by Palmer, which Kendric said showed Palmer's bias against the town.

The voice mail was "inadvertently left on a cellphone," Kendric wrote in a Jan. 7 letter to the court, and showed Palmer had an "unrelated agenda" -- to give a "black eye" to Supervisor John Venditto's administration. Kendric said he wanted to determine whether there were grounds to remove Palmer from the case.

Palmer, who is concerned about being wiretapped by the other side, said he left the voice mail in January 2014 for a friend. "I've been calling that phone number for 30 years," he said. "There's no way I would leave a message on some woman's voice mail."

Kendric said the town will comply with the judge's orders.

Magistrate Judge Steven Locke allowed Palmer to include questions about the voice mail in a February deposition of Ippolito. But during that deposition, Kendric repeatedly objected to questions Palmer directed toward Ippolito.

Earlier this month, Locke said the court intended for Palmer to learn how the voice mail "came into Mr. Ippolito's possession, including but not limited to the identity of the woman who allegedly forwarded the message to him, the timing of that event, and the current whereabouts of the recording."

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