Edward Walsh, the Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman who is among a number of prominent public figures named as defendants in a $41 million federal civil suit related to a dumping case in Islip, may have his name removed from the suit.
Andrew Campanelli, the attorney for Thomas Datre Sr. and Clara Datre and their company, Daytree at Cortland Square, and Frank Tinari, Walsh's attorney, have been in "daily talks," according to Tinari. He said an agreement between the two sides would result in Walsh's name being removed from the suit.
"We're negotiating a potential settlement," Campanelli said outside court Tuesday after a conference in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields in Eastern District Court in Central Islip.
Referring to the dumping case, Campanelli added, "He claims he had nothing to do with this. We want him to testify to that, give a sworn statement to that."
The suit, filed in April by Campanelli on behalf of the Datres, names Walsh, former Islip Conservative Party boss Michael Torres, Deputy Islip Town Attorney and Conservative Party member Michael P. Walsh and Town Attorney Robert L. Cicale as defendants. The Town of Islip is also named, along with four town council members: Anthony Senft, Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, Steven J. Flotteron and John C. Cochrane.
The defendants engaged in a "conspiracy to violate the civil rights" of the Datres, Campanelli said in court. In court documents, Senft is alleged to have known about the dumping months before it became public. The suit charges that he consulted fellow Conservative Party members and town officials in a conspiracy to blame the Datres, a politically prominent couple who had been GOP donors, and their company, Daytree at Cortland Square. The defendants wanted to deflect responsibility from themselves and "eviscerate" the Datres' ability to fundraise, the suit says.
Shields ordered any agreement between Campanelli and Walsh to be hashed out and delivered to the court within 30 days. Outside court, Tinari declined to discuss details of the negotiation.
Campanelli has said his clients had nothing to with the dumping at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood or at the three other sites where dumping also occurred. Datre Sr. is one of six defendants and four companies indicted in December on a variety of charges stemming from District Attorney Thomas Spota's probe of the dumping.
Two defendants include the former Islip parks commissioner and his former secretary, both Conservative Party members. All have pleaded not guilty. No defendant in the Datres' federal civil suit has been criminally charged in the dumping case.
When asked about the suit in April, Walsh called the claims about his role in the dumping "utterly ridiculous" and said he had no dealing with the Datres.
The Datres are seeking a declaratory judgment from Shields that would render his clients "not liable" for the dumping, Campanelli said in court.