A running feud between a business owner and the Yorktown highway superintendent has that contends to seek "misappropriated" money for the town of Yorktown.
William LaPierre, owner of in Yorktown, alleges Eric DiBartolo misappropriated hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars while in office. Named in the lawsuit, along with DiBartolo, are two businesses – Envirostar Corp. and , as well as 10 unidentified people.
The lawsuit seeks to "recoup damages" for the town and was filed in state Supreme Court on Feb. 21.
According to the 36-page lawsuit, DiBartolo allegedly "enriched himself and friends" by abusing his position of trust, giving out a number of "no bid" contracts; undisclosing business interests; using town equipment, personnel and resources for personal benefit.
He is also said to have been "secretly" working for town vendors who were doing business with the town; violating a host of financial safeguards designed to protect the town; having town personnel perform work on his personal vehicles; undisclosing financial interests; submitting falsified payroll records.
[The entire lawsuit has been attached as a pdf file to this article.]
LaPierre alleges in the lawsuit that town officials have looked the other way because of their "fear of the next election" and had not pursued any wrongdoings.
The lawsuit claims 10 other people, identified as John Doe "1" through "10" worked with DiBartolo to submit fraudulent invoices for reimbursement against" the town of Yorktown. Among those people are other past and present officials of the town of Yorktown who allegedly took no actions against those "wrongdoings."
Back in December, critics of DiBartolo met with members of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office and the Public Integrity Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office for . The lawsuit makes many of the same allegations DiBartolo's critics have been sounding for years.
Phone calls for comment to DiBartolo and his lawyer Clement Patti were not immediately returned. David O. Wright, representing LaPierre, said his client has been trying to get town board members to of a recent audit, but without success.
"The purpose of this lawsuit is not to provide any personal benefit to Mr. LaPierre," Wright said. "But solely to recoup money for the town of Yorktown."
Both the town and DiBartolo have been made aware of the lawsuit.
"It's very difficult to comment," said Yorktown supervisor Michael Grace, who took office in January. "I'm glad to hear [LaPierre] or any other taxpayer is being vigilant on behalf of the town, but I don't know if this has any merit. I have been working very well with Eric [DiBartolo]. I have no complaints. This all predates me."
Many of LaPierre's allegations were detailed in the , which was released in August 2011. It questioned Yorktown's financial controls and alleged unethical behavior on behalf of its highway superintendent.
Auditors criticized DiBartolo for directing a $73,000 emergency contract toward his sister-in-law's company for an oil spill clean up that took place in 1998. Allegations included that he failed to disclose his relationship with the company in 2009 when the town, facing $35,000 a day fines, did the emergency clean up. DiBartolo was also criticized for irregularities in bidding processes for various equipment and auditors found pornographic images on his work computer.
In the lawsuit, LaPierre accuses DiBartolo of using town equipment, personnel and resources for personal use. Examples include DiBartolo allegedly paving his driveway in 2002 with town rented equipment, having town employees fix private vehicles at the highway garage, using town employees and equipment for the demolition and renovation of the , of which DiBartolo is a part owner.
He is also accused of stealing "truckloads of tires" from the town, collecting reward points on town credit cards, using town equipment to plow or salt the Yorktown Funeral Home during work hours, as well as using his position to "induce town officials" not to reassess the funeral home, which , as it would usually happen when a building permit was issued.
Wright said the funeral home has been assessed at $1.2 million, which is about one-third less than what it should be.
DiBartolo has been the highway superintendent since 1996. From 2007 to 2010 he was the director of labor of operations in addition to his highway superintendent position.
DiBartolo had previously filed lawsuits against Yorktown residents, LaPierre and Fred Gulitz, .
A new defamation lawsuit, dated Jan. 25, was filed against LaPierre and Gulitz after the previous one – which dealt with comments they made at a town board meeting last year – was thrown out in court. (The lawsuit has been attached to this article.)