Three defendants accused of illegal dumping in and around Islip Town have been offered plea deals from the Suffolk County district attorney's office, according to their lawyers.
During a conferencing appearance yesterday in State Supreme Court, it was disclosed that Thomas Datre Jr., 41, of St. James, had been offered a deal. Justice Fernando Camacho mentioned the plea offer in open court. There was no discussion in the courtroom about the details of the offer.
Outside court after the appearance, Datre Jr.'s attorney, Kevin Kearon, of Garden City, said he had not yet read the plea offer. But he said he would be rejecting it in motions he expects to file next month, citing "the absence of any evidence of guilt" on the part of his client.
Two of the other five defendants in the dumping case, Datre Jr.'s father, Thomas Datre Sr., and Christopher Grabe of Islandia Recycling, were also offered deals, their attorneys said in interviews. Andrew Campanelli of Merrick represents Datre Sr., and Alia F. Richards of Sayville represents Grabe. Both attorneys said their clients received plea offers on Monday.
Campanelli called the cases against his clients "fictitious" and said he would reject the offers.
Richards said she hadn't yet discussed the plea with her client.
Brett A. Robinson, former secretary to the parks commissioner in Islip, was not extended a plea offer, said his attorney, Patrick O'Connell of Central Islip. Attorneys for Joseph J. Montuori Jr., former Islip parks commissioner, and Ronald Cianciulli, owner of Atlas Asphalt, did not respond for comment.
Kearon has denied any claims of illegal dumping by his client since Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota began his investigation last year.
"We don't have any interest in pleading guilty to anything in this case," Kearon said. "We're either going to get these charges dismissed on motion by the judge, or if he doesn't dismiss all the charges, then there's going to be a trial at some point."
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Pitman declined to discuss the details of Datre Jr.'s proposed plea offer outside of court. She declined to say whether any other defendants in the case had also received offers. Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Spota, declined to comment. In an earlier court appearance, Pitman labeled Datre Jr. the "mastermind" in a scheme to dump contaminated fill on Long Island.
The 32-count indictment that was unsealed in December paints Datre Jr. as the facilitator in a scheme to put contaminated construction debris at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood; a six-home subdivision in Islandia for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; a private one-acre lot on Islip Avenue in Central Islip; and a sensitive wetlands area in Deer Park. All six, who have been charged for various roles in the dumping, have pleaded not guilty.
Datre Jr. is the son of prominent political fundraisers, Thomas Datre Sr. and Clara Datre, who have donated and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Islip Republican and Conservative parties. Clara Datre has run unsuccessfully as a Republican for Islip Town supervisor. Datre Sr. faces five additional counts based on the dumping at Veterans Way.
Spota has said the two former Islip parks officials, Montuori and Robinson, were motivated to "assist and aid politically connected people." No elected officials or party leaders have been arrested in connection to this case.
Newsday has reported that Michael Torres, Islip's Conservative Party leader, was consulted at least once on the removal of debris from the park in January of last year.
The dumping allowed Datre Jr. to avoid paying fees of at least $1,500 per truckload for an estimated 1,800 truckloads full of debris laced with contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides and petroleum products to dispose of the debris in an authorized landfill, Spota has said.
With Jennifer Barrios