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Amityville hires firm to settle landfill suit

A group of companies that paid partial cleanup costs for the contaminated Babylon Town landfill has sued the three villages in the Town of Babylon along with dozens of Long Island companies to recover what the group says is their share of the cleanup bill for having used the site.

Amityville trustees voted Monday night to retain Robert L. Folks & Associates, of Melville, a firm specializing in federal court litigation. The firm likely also would represent Babylon and Lindenhurst villages, Amityville officials said. In a work session before the vote, Amityville Mayor Peter Imbert described the suit as “extortion,” but Amityville village attorney Bruce Kennedy said settlement negotiations were already under way to avoid a costly court case.

The lawsuit, filed late last year in federal court in Brooklyn by a group of companies known as the Babylon Landfill Joint Defense Group, does not specify demands for any individual party.

In letters sent last year, the Joint Defense Group demanded the villages each pay $50,000 for allegedly dumping at the landfill municipal, maintenance and office waste likely containing hazardous substances.

Kennedy said he participated in settlement negotiations at that time, but that no agreement was reached.

This time, he said, he hopes for a settlement “substantially less” than $50,000 but declined to give an exact figure, citing ongoing negotiations. Amityville’s expenses in the matter are unlikely to be covered by insurance, he said.

Babylon Town operated the landfill from 1947 to 1990 when, under an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the town spent about $30 million to cap and clean up the site.

The state later reimbursed the town $22 million and recouped a portion of that cost — $3.4 million — from the companies in the Joint Defense Group, which includes Fortune 500 giants such as Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. Under the state Superfund law governing the cleanup, they are entitled to recoup that from other parties who used the landfill.


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