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Federal judge dismisses Islip suit against parties involved in dumping

A closed sign on the entrance to Roberto

A closed sign on the entrance to Roberto Clemente Park is pictured on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

A federal judge has granted motions to dismiss complaints against some of the defendants named in a $4 million federal racketeering lawsuit filed by Islip Town for the illegal dumping at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.

More than three dozen people and companies were named in the suit filed in April 2016 in Eastern District Court in Central Islip. The suit claimed they had joined together in an “enterprise” to unlawfully dump nearly 40,000 tons of contaminated construction debris on the soccer field and in a recharge basin at the park from July 2013 to April 2014, leaving the cost of the cleanup — at $4 million — up to the town to pay.

At a court date in February, attorneys for the defendants presented oral arguments on motions to dismiss the suit against their clients.

Those defendants included: a Brentwood church, Iglesia de Jesucristo Palabra Miel; Pastor Marco Lopez; church secretary Nancy Alvarez; and church members William Carillo, Raul Pachecho and Walter Casasola; Ronald Cianciulli and his company, Atlas Home Improvement Corp. of Long Island, also known as Atlas Asphalt; as well as IEV Trucking Corp., and COD Services Corp.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco in his decision filed on March 28 wrote that the town’s suit failed to allege that church defendants, who had been trying to rehabilitate dilapidated soccer fields, knew or should have known that the material was hazardous or that IEV or COD knew the materials were meant for delivery at the park.

For Cianciulli, the judge wrote that he and his company were only involved in the removal of debris from the park and that the complaint “contains no facts” that Cianciulli knew the materials were hazardous.

Further, the complaint “fails to state a claim for restitution” because it “does not sufficiently allege” that these defendants are liable for what went on at the park.

The Town of Islip has 30 days to amend its complaint against these defendants, according to the ruling.

Michael Cahill, an attorney from Hauppauge representing the Town of Islip in the suit, said: “We’re studying the decision and we’ll be making a determination as to whether we amend the complaint or how we amend the complaint between now and the deadline.”

The remaining defendants named in the civil suit include Thomas Datre Jr.; his parents Thomas Datre Sr. and Clara Datre; his sister Gia Gatien; Richard Datre Jr. and eight Datre family companies; Christopher Grabe and his companies; Islandia Recycling and C.J. Site Development Inc.; former town Parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and his former executive secretary Brett Robinson; and 10 unnamed “John Doe” defendants.

Six of the people and four of the companies named in the town’s suit were indicted in December 2014 by Suffolk prosecutors over an alleged dumping scheme in and around Islip. Montuori Jr. and Robinson pleaded guilty for their roles in facilitating the dumping at the park in August and were sentenced to conditional discharges in October.

Thomas Datre Jr. and Grabe pleaded guilty to felony crimes in March 2016 for their roles in dumping at the park and several other sites. Cianciulli was found guilty after a bench trial in June of helping Datre Jr. dump at a wetlands site in Deer Park.

The three are to be sentenced on April 27. Criminal charges against Datre Sr. had been dropped.

Discovery in the civil case has been stayed by the judge pending the outcome of the criminal cases.

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