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Smithtown employees cleared by ethics panel over demolished structures

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to purchase two properties for $240,000 that can be used for transfer of density flow rights. (Feb. 20, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

Smithtown Town employees did nothing improper when the owner of a Smithtown lumber yard demolished structures to reduce his taxes, the town board of ethics has ruled.

The board, in an April 1 letter to town Democratic committee chairman Ed Maher, who requested the review, said it “did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that any town employee committed a violation of the Smithtown Code of Ethics.”

Maher said he accepted the ethics board’s conclusions but added he was “a little bit surprised” the panel found no one violated the ethics code.

“I think it indicates the town code needs to be strengthened,” Maher said.

He had requested the review in March 2012, after a Suffolk grand jury found no wrongdoing by town officials who had been accused of inducing developer Salvatore DiCarlo to tear down buildings at his West Main Street lumber yard in 2009 for $4,000 in tax savings. The grand jury report did not name the officials.

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said allegations stemming from the demolition were “a tempest in a teapot from the very start. The new finding by the board of ethics confirms that.”

DiCarlo is asking town officials to approve a zoning change so he can build about 56 apartments, offices and stores at the 3-acre site. The lumber yard closed more than four years ago.

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