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Islip official files second ethics complaint over land sale

Islip councilmember Trish Bergin-Weichbrodt. (July 11, 2013)

Islip councilmember Trish Bergin-Weichbrodt. (July 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A second complaint has been filed to the Islip ethics board pertaining to the sale of surplus town land in East Islip to a neighbor and contributor of Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt.

Planning board member Joseph DeVincent, a Democrat and former deputy town supervisor, wrote the ethics board Friday asking its members to review another aspect of the sale. In his letter, he alleged that Bergin Weichbrodt violated “certain public disclosure requirements” by not indicating that the “principal owner” of the company in contract to buy the property is a legal client of her husband.

“Specifically ... Ms. Patricia Bergin Weichbrodt has claimed responsibility in negotiating the above referenced sale, sponsored [a resolution] and voted for authorization of a contract of sale,” DeVincent wrote.

John Bohlsen of the Bohlsen Restaurant Group was the highest of three bidders on the 2.45-acre former town vehicle maintenance facility. The sale for $3.2 million was approved by the town board in August 2012.

Town attorney Robert Cicale said Friday this is not a conflict of interest and would not require disclosure because the councilwoman’s husband, attorney Randall Weichbrodt, has never represented the Bohlsens on any matter regarding the Town of Islip.

“Personally, I see this as a desperate attempt to discredit an honest and hardworking woman and hurt her family for political gain,” Cicale said, noting that Democratic opponents did not bring up the issue more than a year ago when the sale was approved.
Bergin Weichbrodt, a Republican seeking re-election in November, did not return calls for comment.

On Sept. 26, DeVincent in a letter asked the ethics board to review the advertisement, solicitation and terms of the sale of the parcel, as well as the process for hiring a real estate broker and the percent of the broker’s commission. On Oct. 10, ethics board chairman Nicholas Campasano wrote DeVincent saying the board found no impropriety in the circumstances surrounding the sale.



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