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William LaPierre Sues Highway Chief DiBartolo

Eric DiBartolo, two businesses and 10 other unidentified people have been named in a lawsuit, which LaPierre says is to "recoup" money for the town of Yorktown.

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.)

Evan Bray March 01, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Wow. Must be something in Yorktown's water that makes us all so litigious [myself included:)].
Robert Surabian March 01, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Talk about a guy walking around with an attached lightening rod, you have Eric. So obvious that Michael is an accomplished dancer trying his best to sidestep the whole mess.
Oggee March 01, 2012 at 03:02 PM
What about the work done on rt. 6n and Wood Street in Jefferson Valley. When called about why it was done in such a way that near accidents happen almost everyday and fire trucks can't make a right turn onto Wood Street from 6N, no one at the town would verify who did the work. The town denied it doing it and said it was the state. I contacted the NYS DOT and they have no record of permits given to do the work. My concerned neighbors found out later that DiBartolo had given the work to a relative. When we called the town again before the last election, we got a promise that Susan Siegel would meet with us but she never found the time. Again, if DiBartolo did give the work to a relative, wouldn't that be against the law too.
Kaye March 01, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I don't know all the facts so I'm not going to make a judgement here, but when you state that "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." I have my doubts. Clarks was the one and only furneral home in Yorktown until DeBartolo opened up Yorktown Funeral Home. A little resentful rivalry perhaps?
Evan Bray March 01, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Kaye, It's probably something akin to a "qui tam" action. That's Latin for "to serve the king is to serve oneself" or something. Mr LaPierre wouldn't get any money out of it if he wins. It would go to the town's coffers. The judge might direct his legal fees to be picked up, but he wouldn't get anything beyond that. Qui tam defined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qui_tam
Confused March 01, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Oggie, How about helping Mr. LaPierre out by contacting him at Clark Funeral Home or Mr. LaPierre's attorney, David Wright and letting them know all the information you were able to find out. It might help their case.
Bill March 02, 2012 at 03:37 AM
This is a long running feud. The story is that Eric opened the funeral home to compete with Clark because of their dislike for each other. So this isnt simply a matter of getting back at him. In fact, now it seems that Eric is suing back: http://yorktown.patch.com/articles/feud-between-lapierre-and-dibartolo-heats-up-with-two-lawsuits
Dev March 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Kaye: These allegations are nothing new. There are many articles you can Google documenting the misconduct allegations as well as the failure of local government to investigate. Please refer to the State Audit Report for more info, you can find it on this site.
Aristotle March 02, 2012 at 07:20 PM
How can the people of the Town of Yorktown not look at the State Comptroller's audit report and come to a conclusion that there must be malfeasance, criminal intent, and a cover-up of some kind going on to protect the highway superintendent and others? DiBartolo is suing using a strategic lawsuit against public participation "SLAPP" to get at the two people most responsible for outing his illegal activities. I'm glad to see that Mr. LaPierre is fighting back on behalf of himself and the town. Let's stand with him and tell those crooks we've had enough of their BS. Anyone that doesn't see the warning issued in the State Comptroller's report needs their head examined! I hope the DA's office is reading this!
Daisydoodle March 02, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I live at the bottom of Wood St on East Main. That intersection is a joke. Since they have put in sidewalks and supposedly corrected that intersection we have had our garage hit by a speeding car that slid on the slippery road, and then a stone pillar at the top of our stairs was taken out a couple of days before Christmas. Not to mention my car was totaled while it was parked on a Sunday morning, while my husband and I were out. I believe it was the town that did that or at least knew of the plans. I spoke with them several times about getting a blinking stop sign or light and got nowhere. They told me that is was going to be a T intersection with a 3 way stop. That does not look like a T to me. Our neighbor across the street said there were three accidents in front of our house on Christmas eve. Even though we pay taxes just like the rest of Yorktown, it appears we are the ugly stepchild that they want to sweep under the rug and ignore
DAN RYNCLIFF March 03, 2012 at 07:06 PM
It amazes me that this guy is still the Highway Chief. Only in Yorktown
Bill March 03, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The amazing thing is that he ran unopposed in the last general election.
Active Yorktowner March 03, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Not only did he run unopposed, he had all the party lines. So, you can actually blame the people of Yorktown for not putting up an opponent against him in the general election. He bamboozled a lot of the people in Yorktown. He claims he will not be running again. Guess we will have to wait until 2014 to see, unless we can somehow get him removed before then,
Bill March 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Well, he did have opponents in both primaries but won both. If you check the election results, he got far less votes than the other races, with several write-ins.
Aristotle March 05, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Although the Audit Results section of the State Comptroller’s audit report on page 4 did not specifically state any criminal activity by the Highway Superintendent, the following statement sure does speak volumes about his actions, “We are concerned that the Superintendent has not always acted appropriately and in the best interest of the Town’s citizens. We identified actions of the Superintendent in which we believe both his personal financial interests and public responsibilities conflict.” I guess that's the politically correct way of saying he's 'guilty as charged.'
Leroy Jones March 05, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I'd like to comment on Mr. DiBartolo's picture. As they say in the movie Deliverance, "He sure has a purdy mouth."

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