A judge Tuesday morning set April 27 as the sentencing date for three men convicted in the Suffolk illegal dumping scheme.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho ordered defendants Thomas Datre Jr., Christopher Grabe and Ronald Cianciulli to report to the county probation office to start sentencing investigations.
“To give all the parties as much an opportunity as possible to get as much work done as possible before the sentence, we’re going to have them go to probation today for a probation investigation and I’m going to sentence them on April 27,” Camacho said in his Central Islip courtroom.
Datre Jr. pleaded guilty last March to several felony charges connected to removing debris from construction sites in New York City and dumping it at locations in Deer Park and Central Islip, as well as Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and a six-home Islandia subdivision for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Grabe, of Islandia Recycling, pleaded guilty the same day for his role in dumping at the park and at the Central Islip site. He also pleaded guilty to a felony tax evasion charge.
Camacho, after a bench trial, found Cianciulli, of Atlas Asphalt, guilty last June of two felonies and two misdemeanors for aiding Datre Jr. in dumping at the Deer Park site.
The Town of Islip had more than 40,000 tons of debris removed from Roberto Clemente Park in the summer of 2015, but its gates are locked as the 27.9-acre parcel remains in disarray. In what could be used to lessen their prison sentences, Camacho gave Datre Jr. and Grabe an opportunity to clean up the site on Islip Avenue in Central Islip and a sensitive wetlands area in Deer Park, where contaminated construction debris still remains, and to help with the rehabilitation of Clemente Park.
Cianciulli’s attorney had expressed to the judge his client’s willingness to help with the Deer Park site.
Datre Jr.’s attorney, Kevin Kearon of Garden City, said outside of court that “there’s been a substantial progress toward the completion” of the work at the Central Islip site. Work on remediating the protected wetlands area in Deer Park had been pushed back to March by the judge, who in December cited safety concerns with cleaning up a sloped area during the winter.
“We’re waiting to be greenlighted by the DEC to complete the remediation of the so-called berm at the Deer Park site,” Kearon said. “We expect that approval to come prior to the sentence date and we expect both sites to be cleaned up before that date.”
Kearon declined to say how many tons of materials have been so far taken out of the Central Islip site or how much the hauling or disposal fees have totaled up to.
Outside of court, Edward Heilig, the Suffolk County district attorney office’s division chief, said: “We’re not happy with the progress to date of the cleanup. . . . In our opinion, the cleanup is moving much too slow. We don’t know why it’s been taking so long.”
Heilig said the district attorney’s office is “in constant contact” with the state Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the cleanups.
“The cleanup is proceeding but if it’s not completed before the date the judge set, they’ll be sentenced accordingly,” Heilig said.
In regard to what prosecutors will recommend for sentencing, Heilig said that “it will depend on what progress is made by then with all the sites.”
The three men were accused of various roles in illegal dumping across the four Suffolk sites in an indictment along with former Islip Town parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr., his former secretary Brett A. Robinson, and Datre Jr.’s father, Thomas Datre Sr., on Dec. 8, 2014.
Montuori Jr. pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to one felony count of endangering the health, safety or environment and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy, in connection with the park dumping, and Robinson pleaded guilty to a violation of disorderly conduct related to the park dumping. Montuori Jr.’s felony plea was reduced to a misdemeanor for cooperating with Islip officials and both were sentenced to conditional discharges on Oct. 21. Charges against Datre Sr. had been dropped at the time his son pleaded guilty.