Illegal Dumping Of Tens Of Thousands Of Tons Of Construction Waste Containing Hazardous Substances Has Kept Park Closed Since 2014
Suit Seeks To Hold Waste Handling Contractors, Brokers, And Haulers Liable For Making The Park Off-Limits To Community
Funds Obtained From Suit Will Fund Restoration And Improvements Of Brentwood Parks
Schneiderman: Those Responsible For Closing Roberto Clemente Park Must Repay Their Debt To The Brentwood Community
Standing outside Roberto Clemente Park, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the filing of a federal lawsuit seeking to recover damages from companies and individuals for the dumping of contaminated construction waste that has deprived the Brentwood, Long Island community of their use of the park since 2014. Attorney General Schneiderman’s suit alleges that the individuals and companies involved in the dumping of hazardous substances in the popular town park – a group of construction contractors, waste brokers, and waste haulers – are liable under federal and state law to pay damages related to the Brentwood community’s lost use of the park.
“Parks aren’t luxuries; they are vital to the public health, economies, and social fabrics of the communities they serve,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We believe the companies and individuals named in our suit are responsible for the dumping of hazardous substances into the heart of Brentwood and causing a much-beloved park to be closed off to the community for years. Those responsible for closing Roberto Clemente Park must repay their debt to the Brentwood community.”
Between August 2013 and April 2014, tens of thousands of tons of urban soil and construction and demolition debris (“C&D”), transported from construction sites in the New York City metropolitan area, were illegally dumped in Roberto Clemente Park, a park owned by the Town of Islip. The Town closed the park in May 2014 when environmental testing revealed elevated levels of a wide array of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides, as well as asbestos, in areas of the park where the dumping occurred. Since that time, the park has remained closed, as cleanup contractors have removed approximately 39,000 tons of construction waste. The Town hopes to reopen portions of the park this summer.
In the lawsuit filed today, Attorney General Schneiderman alleges that a group of contractors who arranged for the disposal of soil and C&D contaminated with hazardous substances from construction sites in the New York City metropolitan area, companies who brokered the removal and disposal of the contaminated waste, and the haulers who dumped the waste in Roberto Clemente Park are liable for damages under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and state public nuisance and negligence laws for closing the park to the Brentwood community. Under CERCLA, states may hold those who transport, or arrange for the transport of, hazardous substances that are released to the environment liable for the injury, destruction, or loss of natural resources – including public parks and other lands held in trust by states – resulting from the release.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, asks the Court to find the companies and individuals named in the suit liable under CERCLA and state law for the community’s loss of use of Roberto Clemente Park since 2014, and require them to pay related damages under state law. As compensation to Brentwood residents for their years of lost use of Roberto Clemente Park, and consistent with CERCLA, all monies obtained through this action will be directed by the State toward restoring and enhancing parks in the Brentwood community.
Those named in the complaint include:
- THOMAS DATRE, JR.
- CHRISTOPHER GRABE
- 5 BROTHERS FARMING CORP.
- DAYTREE AT CORTLAND SQUARE INC.
- IEV TRUCKING CORP.
- O.D. SERVICES CORP.
- ALL ISLAND MASONRY & CONCRETE, INC.
- BUILDING DEV CORP.
- DIMYON DEVELOPMENT CORP.
- NEW EMPIRE BUILDER CORP.
- CIPRIANO EXCAVATION CORP.
- TOUCHSTONE HOMES, LLC
- SAMS RENT AND CONSTRUCTION
- SAM’S RENT, INC.
- NEW YORK MAJOR CONSTRUCTION INC.
- EAST COAST DRILLING NY INC.
- TRITON CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC
- SUKRAM AND SONS LTD.
- M & Y DEVELOPERS INC.
- “JOHN DOE”
- ATRIA BUILDERS, LLC
- WOORI CONSTRUCTION INC.
- PLUS K CONSTRUCTION INC.
- NY FINEST ENTERPRISES INC.
- MONACO CONSTRUCTION CORP.
- ALEF CONSTRUCTION INC.
- 158 FRANKLIN AVE. LLC
- LUCIANO’S CONSTRUCTION, INC.
- ILE CONSTRUCTION GROUP, INC.
- EAST END MATERIALS, INC.
- SPARROW CONSTRUCTION CORP.
- CIANO CONCRETE CORP.
- FREEDOM CITY CONTRACTING CORP.
- TOTAL STRUCTURE SERVICES INC.
In March 2016, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota obtained criminal convictions of two individuals, Thomas Datre, Jr. and Christopher Grabe, and a waste hauling company, 5 Brothers Farming Corp., for their role in the illegal dumping. In addition, the Town of Islip is currently seeking civil enforcement against parties involved in the dumping in order to recoup the cost it has incurred in cleaning up the park.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its assistance, especially Sharon Brooks, Principal Economist, and Patrick Foster, Chief, Natural Resource Damages Section. The Attorney General also thanks Suffolk County District Attorney Spota’s office for its assistance in the investigation of this matter.