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Oyster Bay official faces probe by DA

Oyster Bay reprimanded John Antetomaso for improperly storing

Oyster Bay reprimanded John Antetomaso for improperly storing three family boats in a town maintenance building.

The Nassau County district attorney's office is investigating whether the Oyster Bay supervisor of bay constables violated any laws in his admitted misuse of town facilities and employees.

The town already has reprimanded John Antetomaso for improperly storing three family boats in a town maintenance building this past fall.

Town officials also plan additional disciplinary action after Antetomaso acknowledged that in 2010 he ordered three constables to bring him gasoline while he was on a friend's boat that had run out of fuel in Fire Island Inlet -- about 9 miles outside town waters.

Antetomaso, 45, supervisor of conservation and waterways since 1996, has admitted he stored the boats and asked for the gasoline, town attorney Leonard Genova said.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice "has ordered a full investigation into the allegations," said her spokesman, John Byrne, who declined to detail the scope of the probe.

Oyster Bay officials are continuing to investigate Antetomaso's conduct. "The town attorney began interviewing the bay constables about information they may have concerning these issues," town spokesman James Moriarty said this month.

Antetomaso, a Massapequa resident, began working for the town in 1982 as a seasonal bay constable. His father, Frank Antetomaso, who was a Nassau County Republican committeeman and town public works commissioner from 1975 to 1989, was considered one of the most powerful officials in Republican-controlled Oyster Bay.

The elder Antetomaso is now a partner in the Mineola engineering firm of Sidney B. Bowne & Son, which has undertaken several projects for the town and the county. John Antetomaso also works at Bowne.

Town officials said they are aware of Antetomaso's employment at Bowne and it is not a problem as long as he works his required town hours.

John Antetomaso, who is paid $120,320 a year to oversee 20 full- and part-time constables plus mechanics, declined to comment through a town spokesman and did not respond to requests for comment at Bowne.

Frank Antetomaso, to whom the three boats are registered, did not respond to requests for comment.

John Antetomaso received a written reprimand in September after town officials confirmed he had stored two boats and a water scooter in the marine maintenance building at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa, Genova said.

Using town facilities, equipment or personnel for personal use is a violation of Oyster Bay's policy.

John Antetomaso said the boats were in the maintenance building "for a short period" in September after Tropical Storm Irene because the waterfront property of a friend where he usually stored them had been flooded, Genova said.

Town public safety commissioner Justin McCaffrey "formally gave him (Antetomaso) a letter of warning, which is required under our disciplinary rules, making it clear that . . . any future violation of said policy may result in disciplinary action," Genova said.

After questions from Newsday, town officials documented the gasoline delivery trip made on Aug. 1, 2010. They cited entries in the patrol boat's logbook that showed the purpose of the trip, that Antetomaso ordered it, that it began at 2:10 p.m. and that it lasted an hour.

Genova said Antetomaso acknowledged "he was stranded on a personal boat near the Islip-Babylon border and did make a phone call to several of our bay constables and asked them to bring him approximately 10 to 15 gallons of fuel."

Antetomaso said he "personally" replaced the fuel later, Genova said.

"There is clearly a violation of our work rules that will result in a written warning or a disciplinary hearing," Genova said.

Bay constables enforce boating safety, conservation and fishery laws and respond to on-the-water emergencies. They also place and maintain town buoys and other navigational aids, and oversee the placement of private moorings in town waters. Under Civil Service rules, they must be high school graduates and have two years' experience in operating motor boats.

Genova, who has been interviewing the constables and boat mechanics about their knowledge of any potential wrongdoing, said, "For me to take any disciplinary action against an employee, I have to be able to prove it at a hearing."

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