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Long IslandPolitics

Oyster Bay approves contract first, investigates later

The Town of Oyster Bay expanded disclosure requirements for prospective subcontractors Monday, after a Google search last week led one town board member to question whether an indicted former Oyster Bay official was connected to a firm that won a $175,000 contract.

Board member Rebecca Alesia asked about the matter early on during the business portion of the June 12 meeting. “Is Two-Eight-Seven in this?” she queried town Clerk James Altadonna, as he put several other resolutions before the board.

“No,” Altadonna replied.

But a few minutes later, after Resolution 287-2018 — which would award money to a subcontractor, Routesmart Technologies Inc., to help the town reconfigure garbage collection routes — was called to the floor, Alesia said she had an objection.

“My understanding,” she said, “is that the subsidiary is owned by the company that is using it, and I have reason to understand that there may be a principal of this company that is somebody we have agreed not to do business with.”

Alesia did not name the principal.

But according to state filings, Frank Antetomaso, a former town public works commissioner who has pleaded not guilty to state charges including conspiracy, theft of services and official misconduct, is listed as chief executive of Routesmart.

Joseph Saladino, the town supervisor, already had voted yes before Alesia made her comments. But when she was through, Altadonna asked whether he should continue on with the roll call vote.

“ . . . Of course we will be looking at everything very, very carefully so as not to be going back on something that we have committed to . . . ” Saladino said before voting continued.

Last year, Antetomaso was among a group of former town officials, employees and a contractor charged in three indictments after a Nassau district attorney’s investigation.

After the indictments were handed down, Saladino said Oyster Bay would not do business with Antetomaso, or any individuals or companies under indictment.

But last week, the town decided to investigate the information offered by Alesia only after the board — with Louis Imbroto, Thomas Hand and Joseph Muscarella joining Saladino as a majority — voted to approve Routesmart’s subcontract.

A message left with the company’s public relations representative had not been returned by Monday evening. Antetomaso could not be reached for comment.

The contractor on the project is LiRo Engineers Inc. of Syosset. A spokeswoman said Monday that LiRo sought to use Routesmart as a subcontractor because of the company’s expertise. The spokeswoman, Nancy Silver, a marketing director, said LiRo does not own Routesmart.

She also said she had no information — and thus could not comment — on whether Antetomaso was affiliated with Routesmart.

As the week wore on, town officials continued to backtrack on the board’s approval.

“The resolution was not executed and will not be executed unless the matter is cleared up,” Saladino said in an emailed statement to Newsday.

“Upon listening to . . . allegations, I will not allow taxpayers to fund any work with companies or individuals under indictment,” Saladino said in a subsequent statement.

On Monday afternoon, Saladino spokesman Brian Nevin emailed to Newsday a list of six disclosure questions the town intends to ask future prospective subcontractors, including whether its officers and employees are under investigation, or whether in the past 10 years any have been convicted of a crime.

Nevin also said the town already was looking for a potential alternate subcontractor.

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