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Town may throw out new garbage contract

Photo supplied by the Suffolk County DA's office

Photo supplied by the Suffolk County DA's office depicting a Jody Enterprises truck unloading what the District Attorney alleges is paper and cardboard recycling material taken from the Town of Smithtown at a Gleam St, West Babylon independent salvage company, DeMatteo Salvage. (Aug. 22, 2012) Credit: Handout

The Town of Babylon is scrambling to secure residential garbage service after learning the company hired for the job is being investigated by the Suffolk district attorney.

District Attorney Thomas Spota said Thursday he believes Jody Enterprises Inc., of Bay Shore, "provided false information" and hid information from the town during the recent contract bid process.

Spota made the announcement following the arraignment of William Stegemann and Michael D'Alessandro, Jody workers who along with the company are being charged with grand larceny, in an alleged scheme to steal recyclables from Smithtown. More charges may result from the Babylon investigation, Spota said. Jody attorney Justin Block, of Commack, denied the allegations. "They put in a bid; it was accepted; they were vetted by the town in any number of ways and were found to be a suitable carter for the town," he said.

Block said Stegemann and D'Alessandro acted independently in the Smithtown case and that Stegemann only has a verbal contract with the company to supervise operations.

Town officials identified Stegemann as Jody's manager of operations and D'Alessandro as field supervisor. Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town met with the men weekly for the past two months and considered them "upper management."

Jody, which is owned by Giustino Gallone, was awarded a 10-year contract by the town in June. As part of a background check, Schaffer said he was aware of Stegemann's criminal history. Schaffer said Stegemann's criminal past "wasn't anything that led us to believe it would affect the operations of the company" and that the town instead "relied heavily on what the towns were saying in terms of their performance."

The town's residential garbage contract with Babylon Source Separation Inc., of West Babylon, expires Sept. 30. BSSI was considered for a new contract, but Jody offered a lower bid and promised to use new compressed natural gas trucks.

Schaffer hailed the new contract as a huge money-saver. But, he said Thursday, a week after the town approved the contract, Spota's office contacted him and asked for help in its probe. Schaffer said he was ordered not to tell his staff and started stalling on signing the contract.

Schaffer said the town will hold an emergency public hearing in September to decide if officials should rescind the contract to Jody and award it to the second lowest bidder -- EnCon Industries Corp. of Westbury -- or have a short-term "emergency" arrangement with BSSI.

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