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Vecchio: Recycling Scheme Is 'an Outrage'

Smithtown Town supervisor says town employees had no knowledge of alleged recycling scheme; will consider new measures to prevent future fraud.

 

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said town officials are angered by the alleged recycling scheme that stole more than $200,000 from its coffers, but applaud the town employees and policies that uncovered it.

"It's an outage," Vecchio said. "Due to diligent work of Public Safety department, which has solid waste division and monitors the town contracts and other types of charters, we found this carting company was diverting cardboard and paper recycling to an outside place." 

Suffolk County police that involved garbage carters collecting Smithtown homeowners' recyclable cardboard and paper and selling it to West Babylon-based DeMatteo Salvage for a personal profit.

William A. Stegemann, 55, of Lindenhurst, and Michael Dalessandro, 43, of East Patchogue, both Jody Enterprises employees, were arrested and face felony charges of grand larceny in the second degree.

Joseph DeMatteo, principal of DeMatteo Salvage, has been arrested and charged with grand larceny in the second degree.

Vecchio credits Public Safety Chief John Valentine for noting something was amiss at the town's municipal services. Valentine's duties involve monitoring the town's Division of Solid Waste to make sure trucks bring garbage to the town's plant, and are not diverted elsewhere. 

Smithtown town employees noticed Medford-based carter Jody Enterprises, who collect garbage and recyclables in four of the town's 10 districts, were on average dropping less tonnage than the town's other contractors, who cover similar sized geographical areas. 

They notified Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's office approximately 6 months ago, who has the resources to initiate the ongoing investigation that resulted in Wednesday's arrests. 

Vecchio said all relevant town records have been turned in to district attorney's office to aid in investigation, and dismissed thoughts any town employees at the recycling center may have been aware of the scheme. The supervisor said Spota's welcome to investigate. 

"Our people constantly review the records. There are fluctuations in recycling. When cardboard and paper come in on a rainy day, its heavier than normal. If it's a dry day, it weighs in lighter," Vecchio said. 

He also assured that Smithtown will also be looking into the matter themselves, including Jody Enterprises' contract with the town. 

Suffolk County District attorney blamed one reason the recycling scheme went unnoticed as long as it did, was Smithtown did not require GPS tracking devices in the carter's trucks. 

"When the contracts on these routes were bid seven years ago, they had to have a natural gas powered vehicle. I don't know anyone who seven years ago would have thought to put in a GPS or made that a requirement of the contract," Vecchio said. 

All of the town's garbage and recyclable collection contracts are coming up shortly for rebid, according to the supervisor, who said GPS tracking might be considered for the future. 

RC August 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Get rid of Jody !! Carters iin my area.. If you pay them they will do specials favors and piok up anything.. Put pails , crates by garage door., etc.. I see it all going on in neighborhood..
AJ August 25, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Didn't the guys at the KP Dumps notice that the Wednesday morning garbage trucks stopped coming?
WOODY11780 August 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM
ONE MAN'S GARBAGE, IS ANOTHER MAN'S GOLD
new guy August 26, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Did you even read the artical?
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) August 26, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I choose to focus on the Smithtown Library viewing it as a tremendous waste of taxpayer resources. The Library is unworthy of $5Million let alone $12Million. Smithtown residents should be equally outraged at the profligate Smithtown Library budget with bloated salaries, extravagant benefits, insider deals, pension enhancement schemes. I would like to defund the Library and supplement existing budgets for roads, infrastructure, parks and senior living care services. Instead we choose to provide in an area with a per capita income of $60K family $95K public access to an old book storage repository. We pay to park at the beach why not have the library charge a parking fee? Better yet why not establish a tax district for a public fitness center? Why not have LA fitness become taxpayer funded with free access to all town residents? Library taxes are up to $300 a membership to LA fitness is probable the same we just do a switcharoo.

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