An Islip Town councilman who dropped out of a State Senate race last year after fallout surrounding the illegal dumping scandal in the town was nominated Wednesday night by Islip Town Republicans to run for a District Court seat in Suffolk County.
Anthony S. Senft Jr., of Great River, a former military attorney and Suffolk County prosecutor, said the move would put him back in line with the profession he's loved for the past two decades. The town board's sole Conservative Party member on the five-seat board, Senft said he would not seek re-election to the town council.
He called running for the State Senate and running for judge "two vastly different roles and responsibilities," and he said he didn't believe the dumping scandal would affect his chances at winning in November.
Islip Town Attorney Robert L. Cicale of Islip Terrace, now in his second term, was also nominated to run for Suffolk County District Court judge, along with John P. Schettino of West Islip, a trial attorney who is the law secretary to Suffolk County Family Court Judge Philip Golgas.
A fellow Conservative Party member, Mary Katherine Mullen of Bayport, was nominated to run for Senft's place on the town board. According to a news release, Mullen has been a litigator for nearly 20 years, including as a senior assistant district attorney in Suffolk County.
Angie Carpenter, who was appointed to the town supervisor position earlier this year by the board and sworn in March 1, is the Republican Party's pick to run for a full term this November. She filled the vacancy left by now-state Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville), the Islip Town supervisor elected in November 2011, who left for his new post Jan 1. Croci replaced Senft as the Republican candidate in the 3rd District Senate race last summer.
After dumping was discovered in Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood last spring, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's investigation widened to three other sites: a subdivision in Islandia, a one-acre private lot on Islip Avenue in Central Islip, and a sensitive wetlands area in Deer Park.
Two former Islip Town parks officials -- former Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and Brett A. Robinson, who are both Conservative Party members -- were among six men and four companies indicted on charges involving their alleged roles in dumping tens of thousands of tons of contaminated materials at those sites. All have pleaded not guilty.
Speaking of his aborted run for the State Senate, Senft, who was the town board's liaison to the parks department, said, "I voluntarily withdrew from running for the New York State Senate because I believed it would distract the attention of my candidacy for the Senate and put it onto the parks issue," Senft said. "We have successfully resolved the issues surrounding how the park will be cleaned."
Senft, Cicale, Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman Edward Walsh and several other Islip officials were recently named as defendants in a $41 million federal lawsuit brought by Tom Datre Sr., who is under criminal indictment for his alleged role in helping to facilitate the illegal dumping of contaminated materials at the subdivision in Islandia. His wife, Clara Datre, who has been charged with financial crimes for allegedly padding invoices for post-Sandy work done for the Town of Islip, as well as prevailing wage violations stemming from a tree-trimming contract her company had with the town, is also a party to that suit.
The suit alleges Senft knew about the dumping and that he and others plotted to pin the dumping on Datre Sr., his wife and her company, Daytree at Cortland Square.