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Oyster Bay ethics board to investigate complaint against Frederick Ippolito

Frederick Ippolito, the Oyster Bay planning and development

Frederick Ippolito, the Oyster Bay planning and development commissioner who has been indicted on charges of evading taxes on $2 million in consulting fees, sold his restaurant, Christiano's, to Singh. Credit: Newsday / Ted Phillips

Oyster Bay officials have referred to the town ethics board a complaint that indicted Planning and Development Commissioner Frederick Ippolito violated town code by working for a town contractor while working for the town.

"The complaint was submitted . . .to the chairman of the board of ethics, and they're examining the complaint," Supervisor John Venditto said at Tuesday's town board meeting.

Ippolito will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint, and the ethics board will proceed from there, Venditto said. The board is led by John Nagy.

Ippolito, who is currently on paid leave, was charged last month with federal income tax evasion. He allegedly failed to report $2 million in consulting fees from Old Bethpage-based Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving Inc. and a member of the Lizza family from 2008 through 2013.

Ippolito had alternately worked for the town and Lizza & Sons, and began his current stint with the town in 2009.

Lizza & Sons has had multimillion dollar road work contracts with the town, and in 2012, one of its ventures received town approval for a proposed senior housing development in Hicksville.

Ippolito's financial disclosure form covering the year 2013 disclosed that he received "Commissions earned from previous employer: Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving, Inc."

He also disclosed that he received income in excess of $1,000 from the Lizza Family Trust as a consultant.

Ippolito's Garden City-based attorney, Brian Griffin, said his client has not received a copy of an ethics complaint, but "he has properly filed all necessary disclosures with the town. We are confident this issue is of no merit."

Massapequa resident Robert Ripp made the complaint to Venditto in an April 15 letter.

"From what I read in the town code, Mr. Ippolito should not be working for a company that has contracted business with the town. That's really a violation of the code of ethics," Ripp said at Tuesday's meeting.

Venditto said the ethics board would need time to do its job.

Venditto and town attorney Leonard Genova declined to say in an interview whether the town code's conflict of interest provisions applied in Ippolito's case. Ethics violations can be punished with fines, suspension or removal from office.

It was unclear when the ethics board last met. Genova, who was appointed to the board in 2012, said he did not recall a meeting.

The ethics board did not convene when Ripp asked Venditto in November and the town board earlier this year to refer to it his complaints over his treatment by town officials in a code violation case. Ripp was fined $150 for parking his boat in his yard.


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