The president of Suffolk County's largest public union is accused of aggravated harassment because he threatened his wife, according to a criminal complaint -- a charge his lawyer says stems from a divorce dispute.
Daniel Farrell, 52, was arraigned Wednesday in First District Court in Central Islip and released without bail after entering a not guilty plea, according to his attorney, Jamie Rosner of Patchogue.
According to the criminal complaint, Farrell was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, after he threatened his wife over the phone Tuesday morning.
A temporary protection order was issued Wednesday, barring him from any further contact with his wife.
"They had an argument because she had changed the locks in the house," Rosner said. "She's not supposed to do that while the divorce is ongoing."
While Farrell wasn't living in the West Islip home at the time, Rosner said he wasn't prohibited from being there.
According to the complaint, Farrell told his wife in the phone call: "I would like to kill you. The best thing for me is for you to die. I will burn that house to the ground before I see you living in it."
Rosner said Farrell didn't threaten to harm his wife and "has an entirely different version of what happened."
Farrell is president of the Association of Municipal Employees, a 6,300-member union that represents blue- and white-collar public employees.