$627,000 Obtained in 8 Agreements will be Used for Brentwood Park Improvements; Additional Funds Expected as James’s Legal Action Continues
May 26th, 2021 – New York Attorney General Letitia James was joined by Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter today to announce that the AG's office has delivered $627,000 from 8 companies involved in the illegal dumping of contaminated construction waste in Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, Long Island. These agreements — which will be sent to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for final approval — are the first resolutions reached in a federal lawsuit the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) brought in 2017 against 33 construction contractors, waste brokers, and waste haulers that illegally dumped waste in the park for years. The agreements seek to hold these companies and individuals financially liable for the Brentwood community’s lost use of the popular park during the three years it was closed for cleanup.
“The threats of environmental injustice are real and have unfairly plagued communities like Brentwood for too long,” said Attorney General James. “For over three years, Roberto Clemente Park was used as an illegal dumping grounds, robbing residents of the centerpiece of this community and putting our children in harm’s way. Today, we begin to give back what’s long been due, and hold accountable those responsible for polluting this park with dangerous chemicals. My office will continue to crack down on those that seek to take advantage of our diverse communities and will ensure that every New Yorker has access to the safe parks and natural resources that they deserve.”
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 the presence of asbestos, and, later, a wide array of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides, in areas of the park where the dumping occurred. The park remained closed until July 2017, as cleanup contractors removed approximately 39,000 tons of construction waste.
In May 2017, OAG sued the companies and individuals related to the dumping — 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 transported waste to Roberto Clemente Park and dumped it there. That lawsuit sought damages under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and state public nuisance and negligence laws for the Brentwood community’s lost use of the park during its cleanup.
The agreements and related payments announced today resolve the lawsuit brought by OAG against the following companies:
- Atria Builders, LLC (construction contractor) will pay $90,000;
- Monaco Construction Corp., Alef Construction Inc., and 158 Franklin Ave. LLC (construction contractors) will collectively pay $58,439;
- Triton Construction Company, LLC (construction contractor) will pay $108,505;
- IEV Trucking Corp. (waste broker) will pay $300,000
- Touchstone Homes LLC (construction contractor) will pay $175,000; and
- COD Services Corp. (waste broker) will pay $40,000.
In 2016, the Town of Islip initiated a separate legal action against a number of companies and individuals involved in the dumping. The Town has reached agreements for $145,000 for the park’s cleanup with two of the same companies that the state has now settled with. Attorney General James thanks the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its assistance in this matter.
“On behalf of the members of the Islip Town Board and our residents, I applaud Attorney General Letitia James for her unwavering commitment to hold these companies accountable, and for ensuring that restitution be made. Although the illegal dumping at Roberto Clemente Park proceeded AG James’ tenure, as it did mine, the AG has remained steadfast in her pledge to make the community whole,” said Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Matthew J. Sinkman and Channing Wistar-Jones, Chief Environmental Scientists Anthony Dvarskas and Jodi Feld, Environmental Scientist John D. Davis, and Geographic Information System Intern Gregory Welter, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Wagner of the New York Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, which is led by Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic. The Environmental Protection Bureau is a part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.
Supervisor Carpenter and AG James later walked through the hamlet of Brentwood, visiting with small businesses affected by COVID-19. Joining with Supervisor Carpenter and AG James at the press conference were Suffolk County District Attorney, Tim Sini, Islip Town Councilman, John Cochrane, Jr and other local elected officials.