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Ex-Hempstead shelter head gets lawyer for civil suit

Kittens await adoption at the Town of Hempstead

Kittens await adoption at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter. Credit: Newsday, 2010 / Thomas A. Ferrara

A private attorney will represent a former Hempstead Town employee named in a federal civil lawsuit filed against the town by three animal activists banned from the pet shelter.

The Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday approved a resolution appointing the Law Offices of Dennis M. Lemke of Mineola to represent Charles Milone, the former second deputy commissioner of the town’s Department of General Services and a former acting shelter director.

Milone was paid $122,575 as acting director, a post he held for several years. He was transferred from the job last fall amid investigations into the shelter. He retired in April.

The town and several of its employees, including Milone, were named in a lawsuit filed in December in the court for the Eastern District of New York by Diane Madden of East Meadow, who was banned from the shelter in October 2010, and other former animal rescuers.

They are seeking unspecified compensation and to be restored to volunteer duties at the shelter.

The town attorney determined that a conflict of interest could exist in representing both the town employees and Milone, according to the resolution.

“There is the possibility that there could be a possible conflict of interest,” town spokesman Michael Deery said. “Not that there is a specific conflict of interest.”

The town code allows current and retired employees to be represented by the town attorney in civil actions concerning their work, according to the resolution.

Lemke’s fees and litigation expenses — $750 per day for court trials and $175 per hour for nontrial work — will be paid as a town expense from the Department of General Services’ account.

Milone requested that Lemke represent him, according to the resolution.


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