Oyster Bay is undertaking a series of changes in response to last month’s indictments of former town officials, employees and a contractor on corruption charges, Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced.
Saladino said at Tuesday’s board meeting the indictments “came as no surprise” and were “simply more evidence of the corruption that plagued our town before I got here.”
Eight individuals and one company, Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving, Inc., were indicted June 29 in New York State Supreme Court in Mineola following a 14-month investigation by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office. One of the indictments alleges Carlo Lizza and Lizza family members paid bribes to former and now deceased planning and development commissioner Frederick Ippolito to secure contracts, the rezoning of land and the sale of property at 50 Engel St. in Hicksville. All defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Among the changes the town is making, or proposing to make, in response to the indictments are:
Terminating a lease under which Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving operates on town property.
- Banning the company from bidding on future contracts.
- Terminating a town employee named in one indictment.
- Creating a town Inspector General to oversee contracts.
- Selling the vacant 50 Engel St. property.
Carlo Lizza no longer has contracts with the town. Its most recent contract, which expired last year, was awarded in 2013 and twice extended. It covered road work expected to cost $3 million annually but was increased to up to $22.1 million over three years, town records show.
Carlo Lizza moved operations from 50 Engel St., which it sold to the town for $2.5 million, to town-owned property at 200 Winding Rd. in Old Bethpage. Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said Wednesday the town will terminate a $2,034 month-to-month lease with a Lizza-owned company for that land.
John Carman, the Lizza’s attorney, said in an email, “The company will withhold comment as it has not received notice of any action by the town as of today.“
Addionally, Saladino announced shortly after the indictments were unsealed that he would terminate all contracts and ban future work with Sidney B. Bowne & Son, LLP after one of its principals, Frank Antetomaso, was among those indicted. Saladino on Tuesday reversed that decision, stating that the Mineola-based firm informed him that Antetomaso was no longer with the company.
Representatives of Bowne, an engineering firm and major contractor with the town, did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
The town suspended and is now seeking termination of town highway department supervisor Salvatore Cecere who was indicted on theft of services and official misconduct charges for his alleged role in securing discounted concrete work for a resident.
Frank Nocerino, who was also indicted for official misconduct, had resigned as the town’s parks commissioner in March to take a job as deputy commissioner of public safety and retired in May, spokesman Brian Devine said Wednesday.
Saladino was appointed supervisor on Jan. 31 following the resignation of John Venditto, who was among those indicted and was also indicted last year on federal corruption charges, and is running for the seat in the November election. He didn’t provide any details about a proposed inspector general. When his Democratic challenger Marc Herman proposed creating the position at a news conference last month Saladino heckled him. Herman said Saladino’s proposal for an inspector general sounded like “the fox guarding the hen house.”
“We need somebody that’s going to police the government, somebody that can investigate departments, vendors,” Herman said.