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Civil suit over illegal dumping in Brentwood park delayed again

Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, seen on Wednesday,

Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, seen on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, remains closed. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

The discovery phase in a $40.7 million federal civil suit filed last year against several current and former Islip Town officials has again been postponed pending sentencings in the criminal cases against those found guilty in an illegal dumping scheme.

The suit alleges that Anthony S. Senft Jr., who was an Islip Town councilman and liaison to the parks department at the time of the dumping, knew about the illegal activities at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and — along with Conservative Party leaders and town officials — blamed it on Tom Datre Sr., his wife Clara and their company Daytree at Cortland Square Inc.

At the time, the Datres had been a politically prominent family, raising funds for the Islip Republican and Conservative parties.

The Datres in their suit also contend they were libeled by the defendants, who publicly pinned the park dumping on them and their company, according to the suit, while violating their civil rights and their right to due process.

In a Dec. 19 letter to Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields in the Eastern District of New York, Andrew Campanelli, attorney for the plaintiffs, advised the court that the judge overseeing the criminal cases has “further adjourned the criminal matters to January 26, 2017” and that “we anticipate that formal sentencing will take place on this date.”

Senft left his post as a councilman in January after he was elected as a Suffolk County district court judge. Also named in the suit is Michael Torres, the former Islip Conservative Party leader; former town attorney Robert L. Cicale, also now a Suffolk district court judge; and Michael P. Walsh, a Conservative Party member and deputy Islip town attorney.

Other named parties include Islip Town itself, along with three town councilmembers, Steven J. Flotteron, John C. Cochrane Jr. and Trish Bergin Weichbrodt.

Datre Sr.’s son, Thomas Datre Jr., and his company 5 Brothers Farming Corp. both pleaded guilty to four felonies each for dumping at Clemente Park and the three other Suffolk sites where contaminated construction debris was found.

Former Islip Town Parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and his former secretary, Brett A. Robinson, both Conservative Party members, pleaded guilty to allowing the dumping at the park to continue.

Neither Datre Sr. nor his wife were criminally charged in the park dumping.

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