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Suffolk DA raids Looks Great office

Trucks with the Looks Great Services logo are

Trucks with the Looks Great Services logo are parked in a lot in Huntington. (April 1, 2013) Credit: Ed Betz

The Suffolk County district attorney's office on Tuesday removed boxes of company records and computer hard drives from the Huntington office of Looks Great Services, a tree and landscape service company, a source said.

The raid Tuesday afternoon took more than three hours. A source later confirmed company records -- both paper and electronic -- were retrieved, relating to public work in connection with municipal contracts the company has.

Company representative Jim Groeneveld declined to discuss the matter at the Lawrence Hill Road office Wednesday, saying: "They were only here for part of the afternoon."

Looks Great has done work for the Town of Huntington's highway department, providing tree-trimming, tree removal and general landscaping services dating back to 2007, according to town records. Separately, the town paid the firm $7.3 million for superstorm Sandy cleanup, though it has held back around $781,000 in payment, citing the firm's failure to present certified payroll records as required by state law.

Looks Great did extensive Sandy cleanup work for Nassau County and other municipalities in Nassau, such as Long Beach. The Town of Hempstead, which paid Looks Great $3.97 million in Sandy's aftermath, has held back a $887,234 payment. The company is suing both Hempstead and Huntington, as well as the Long Island Rail Road and Nassau County, over withheld payments totaling more than $15 million.

Since superstorm Sandy brought a deluge of debris removal and other cleanup work, a number of official probes have been launched into how municipal contracts were awarded and whether contractors paid prevailing wages under state law. District attorneys in both Nassau and Suffolk have issued subpoenas relating to Sandy work, and the state attorney general's office, U.S. Department of Labor, state Department of Labor and the Nassau County comptroller's office also are investigating.

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