6 charged in toxic dumping scandal in Islip town parks

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Kristin Thorne has the details from Brentwood. (WABC)

The suspects accused of dumping toxic debris on Long Island faced a judge Monday.

Six people - two former parks department officials, a pair of contractors, a local businessman and his son - are charged with leaving debris containing arsenic and asbestos at four locations in Suffolk County.

That includes Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, which has been closed ever since the debris was found last summer.

Officials announced the arrest of the six men, who all pleaded not guilty. They are:

--Former Islip Town Parks Commissioner Joseph Montuori, Jr.
--His former executive secretary, Brett Robinson
--Businessman Thomas Datre, Sr.
--His son, Thomas Datre, Jr.
--Christopher Grabe, of Islandia Recycling
--Ronald Cianciulli, of Atlas Asphalt

"My family is innocent," said Michele Datre-Infante, who is Datre, Sr.'s sister. "All of this is bogus political garbage."

Prosecutors say the six are responsible for dumping 50,000 pounds of toxic material at Roberto Clemente Park and three other sites in Islip, including at a housing development for veterans that Datre, Sr., was responsible for creating as a charity effort.

"These defendants have poisoned our neighborhoods, contaminated our wetlands, placed family members in danger," Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota said. "And children in Brentwood have lost their park."

And prosecutors allege that Datre, Jr., was the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, a claim he dismissed.

"I hired the best attorneys on Long Island to prove my innocence, and I did nothing wrong" he said. "And hopefully that's what the outcome will be from here."

Defense attorneys say claim that this is all a bunch of lies.

"There was no toxic dumping," Datre family attorney Kevin Kearon said. "There was no dumping at all. There was delivery of truck loads of clean fill."

"We're waiting for discovery from the DA's office, which we've requested," Robinson's attorney, Patrick O'Connell, said. "And we look forward to joining them in the quest for truth and justice in this."

Irma Solis, with Make the Road New York, has been working with the Brentwood community, demanding answers about the dumping.

"They are pleased that criminal charges are being brought," Solis said. "They're very pleased with that. They've been waiting to hear, well, who is going to be held responsible for this, because someone allowed this to happen."

If convicted, the suspects could face several years in prison and face millions in fines.

Related Topics:
dumpingtoxic wastesuffolk county newsIslipBrentwood
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