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Hempstead billed about $4,800 by law firm in Gunther case

Hempstead officials had charged Roy Gunther Jr., a

Hempstead officials had charged Roy Gunther Jr., a municipal code enforcement officer, with letting garbage and construction debris accumulate outside his home in Oceanside, seen on July 17, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

The Town of Hempstead spent nearly $4,800 to hire a special prosecutor in a case filed against one of its own employees where the charges were ultimately dismissed.

The town filed a violation in May against Roy Gunther Jr., a town municipal code officer who allegedly allowed construction debris and garbage from superstorm Sandy repairs to accumulate outside his Oceanside home. Other summonses against him were dropped because the inspector wrote an incorrect date on the ticket for failing to have a permit to disconnect a gas meter.

The town had hired a special prosecutor, Jeffrey Schwartz of the Garden City firm Jaspan Schlesinger, to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

Jaspan Schlesinger billed the town for a total of $4,792.50, according to town records. The bills were submitted to the town in October and December 2017 and Jan. 10.

The case was dismissed on Dec. 5 with the condition that Gunther not commit any other crimes or offenses through Dec. 31. Dismissals usually occur after a six-month time frame, but attorneys on both sides agreed to shorten it after the disposition took longer to take to court than anticipated.

Gunther had been suspended without pay by the town for five days over the summer. A town official said the suspension was related to the court case.

Jaspan Schlesinger’s bills were signed by Lisa Cairo, a partner in the firm and daughter of Nassau Republican Committee vice chairman Joseph Cairo.

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