The Oyster Bay town board last week approved paying Carlo Lizza Paving & Sons, Inc. $1.5 million for road restoration.
Since awarding the contract in 2013 for $3 million, the board has approved increases, an extension, and allocations totaling $22.1 million, town records show. Though the board approved a one-year extension of the contract in 2014, the most recent one-year extension was approved by Dept. of Public Works Commissioner Richard Betz on July 15, 2015, according to a letter provided by the town.
The letter does not explain why Betz, rather than the board, authorized the second extension. Town spokeswoman Marta Kane said in an email that board approval wasn’t required because the contract included “language where the commissioner has the authority to exercise the contract options.”
Kane did not respond to a request to provide the language from the contract and referred further questions to outside legal counsel. Councilman Anthony Macagnone said in an email that he wants to end the practice of contracts being extended without board approval.
Earlier this month, Newsday sued the town seeking access to Carlo Lizza’s contracts and other documents that were requested under more than a dozen Freedom of Information Law and Open Meeting Law requests since December 2014.
The contract is a so-called requirements contract which means that the company submitted bids for prices for certain services rather than for an entire job.
The town board approval was criticized by one resident because of the company’s connection to former Planning and Development Commissioner Frederick Ippolito. In January, Ippolito pleaded guilty to one felony count of federal income tax evasion for not reporting income received from Carlo Lizza and a Lizza family member. He awaits sentencing.
CORRECTION: Councilman Anthony Macagnone's name was misspelled in earlier versions of this story.