By MARK WOODSON
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said today there has been a plea of guilty by the principal defendant on trial for the illegal dumping of tens of thousands of tons of contaminated construction debris in Suffolk County in 2013 and 2014. The trial was in its sixth week in Central Islip.
Thomas Datre Jr. of St. James, on trial since February 23 with his father and four family-operated companies charged with dumping thousands of tons of contaminated construction debris at four locations in western Suffolk County, has pleaded guilty to four felony charges of Endangering the Public Health, Safety or the Environment in the third degree.
District Attorney Spota said the 42-year-old will be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment in an upstate correctional facility and, according to the terms of the plea, Datre Jr. is responsible for the restoration of Roberto Clemente Town Park in Brentwood to an active playground, soccer field and recreational facility for Brentwood residents. In addition, Datre Jr. is financially and otherwise responsible for the cleanup and remediation of the environmentally fragile wetlands area on the Islip-Babylon town border in Deer Park and a lot at the corner of Sage Street and Islip Avenue in Central Islip. Dangerous toxins, including Dieldrin, Asbestos and other contaminants classified as “acutely hazardous” or “hazardous” were detected in the dumped debris. District Attorney Spota said the dumping investigation which began in April of 2014 uncovered a scheme “based in greed that left Suffolk County with an environmental catastrophe.”
The cleanup of the environmental damage was addressed in in the terms of Datre Jr.’s plea. “Before the defendant is sentenced, he will clean up at his expense the properties he dumped debris on,” District Attorney Spota said. “Mr. Datre will report on his progress with the cleanup to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the court and the district attorney’s office.”
Datre Jr. also pleaded guilty today to four misdemeanor charges of operating a solid waste management facility without a permit. The sentences on those convictions will be served concurrently.
The charges in the indictment against Datre Sr. were dismissed in satisfaction of the plea of Datre Jr.
In addition to Datre Jr.’s guilty plea the family-run business, 5 Brothers Farming Corp. pleaded guilty to four counts of endangering the environment in the third degree; one felony plea per each of four sites where New York City building rubble was dumped in Suffolk.
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