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Thomas Hoey Jr. wants to get out on bail to save Long Island Banana Co.

Tom Hoey, left, and Tom Hoey Jr. in

Tom Hoey, left, and Tom Hoey Jr. in front of Long Island Banana Co., in Lynbrook on May 5, 1997. Credit: Newsday / Julia Gaines

The wealthy Long Island banana mogul jailed without bail on federal charges that he supplied party drugs that killed a woman is arguing that he should get out because his business is suffering and its 50 jobs are threatened.

Thomas Hoey Jr., the owner of Long Island Banana Co., a regional produce distributor, has been in custody since December for allegedly supplying cocaine that killed Kim Calo of Glenwood Landing at a 2009 sex party, and conspiring to suborn perjury.

"Since his incarceration . . . the business has steadily declined because of Mr. Hoey's absence," defense lawyer Joe Conway wrote in a request for bail. "The real probability is that the business will close or have to be sold in which case many if not all of the employees will become unemployed."

The request was filed with Manhattan U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel on Thursday. Castel, who previously found that Hoey was dangerous and might flee, has not ruled. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Hoey, 45, of Garden City, a married father of two, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison if the government proves that cocaine he supplied at a party at Manhattan's Kitano Hotel killed Calo, 41, a fitness trainer and mother of two.

In the bail letter, Conway pointed to a new Supreme Court case that raises the standard of proof for causation in such cases. It can't be met, he said, because autopsy reports show that cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs combined to cause Calo's death.

Conway also alleged that, although no charges were filed after a 2009 probe by the NYPD and the Manhattan district attorney, federal agents pursued the case because Calo's brother once headed the Drug Enforcement Administration's Long Island office.

The lawyer described Hoey as a "reputable businessman" and charitable "patron" on Long Island who could post property worth $7 million to secure his release and would agree to house arrest with electronic and phone monitoring.

Hoey is also charged with getting Nicole Zobkiw of Wantagh, who was with Calo at the party, to lie to a grand jury. Zobkiw was convicted of perjury. Hoey also faces unrelated state charges of assaulting a girlfriend and tampering with evidence.

In December, prosecutors told Castel that Hoey had $3,800 in cash and four cellphones at the time of his arrest, traveled extensively in Central America, keeps "kilo quantities" of cocaine and had an "extensive history" of abusing the girlfriend.

Conway contended that banana dealing was a cash business and Central America was where his fruit suppliers were located. The girlfriend, he said, is not cooperating with state prosecutors in the assault case.


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