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Suffolk DA Seizes Police Documents From Town Hall

Investigators from the county's Government Corruption Bureau subpoena Southampton Town Wednesday morning for documents said to contain "every confidential personnel police investigation from the police department from the years 1990-2009."

Following allegations that police documents were shredded in the days before Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson assumed his post one year ago, detectives with Suffolk County District Attorney's Office Government Corruption Bureau subpoenaed the Southampton Town clerk's office Wednesday.

The detectives seized boxes of documents from in Southampton Village that had been transferred one year ago from in Hampton Bays. The move comes "as part of an active investigation of the custodianship and status of police department records stored there," said Robert Clifford, the spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

A copy of the subpoena obtained by Patch Wednesday afternoon was addressed to the Southampton Town's "custodian of records" in the matter of "a criminal action presented by the People of the State of New York against JOHN DOE."

The subpoena demands "Any and all records documents, files, folders, boxes, audio recordings, video records or other images transported on or about May 13, 2011" as well as logs of who accessed or possessed the records since that date.

A Town Police Department memo that accompanies the subpoena says the boxes of documents "represent every confidential personnel police investigation from the police department from the years 1990-2009."

The memo was dated May 13, 2011, and states that Town Management Services Administrator Russell Kratoville received the documents, and they were transported by Town Clerk/Records Management Officer Sundy Schermeyer and escorted by Sgt. Michael Joyce. The memo is also signed by former Capt. Anthony Tenaglia, who had vied against Wilson for the chief's post before retiring. Wilson assumed the role May 16.

The seizure comes five days after , the former head of the Police Department's defunct street crime unit.

“The documents have been the focus of some conversation over the last year,” Wilson said Wednesday morning, explaining there there were concerns of records being removed or tampered with.

Wilson said he could not speak to what information the documents contain.

“That’s the problem — I don’t know," he said. "They were removed before I started working there.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst had ordered the documents moved to Town Hall to protect their integrity, Wilson said. “We have been having discussions on how to best transfer the documents back to the police department. The town attorney’s office prepared a protocol to facilitate that transfer.”

Throne-Holst said she received a call at approximately 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning from the district attorney’s office, letting her know that the town would be served with the subpoena.

Approximately seven boxes of records were removed, according to Throne-Holst. She said the records had been initially removed from the police department at the time of the transition to the new police chief in May.

At that time, Throne-Holst said, “We got reports of documents being shredded and possibly leaving the premises.”

She addressed the situation and the decision was made to move the files to Town Hall during the course of the transition to secure them, she said. “I thought that was the prudent thing to do."

While she has not seen the boxes, Throne-Holst said it was “fair to assume” the contents include personnel and internal investigative files. “Other than that, I can’t begin to speculate about whether whatever they contain is anything of substance as it relates to an ongoing investigation or not. That’s what the DA’s office is trying to ascertain.”

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Nancy Evans Figat May 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Recently I supplied Wilson with some ammunition.In the form of documentary evidence of mortgage and insurance fraud. Being used to bribe county of Suffolk & town of Riverhed & Souhampton officials. To colude in the violation of rights and legal abuse beyond what can be imagined. More to follow. Spota will play along now. Pretending not to be part of it.
RyeDad May 16, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Being paid $1,400,000 by the Town of Southampton since 2005 you would think the Town's labor lawyer, Vincent Toomey, would have copies of any important personnel documents that may have been shredded. One could surmise that Toomey created or had a hand in a good number of them if not all of them. I believe he has to maintain these records for at least 7 years. Maybe the D.A. should issue a subpoena to Toomey and then compare what he has with what the Town of Southampton has. Toomey and his law firm have raked in at least $9,400,000 in legal fees and expenses from the Town of Southampton, the Village of Southampton, East Hampton and seven Westchester municipalities since 2001. If the DA subpoenas Toomey for any records he may have that may have been shredded by someone from the town, maybe they should look into these legal fees while their there. At least $9,400,000 since 2001? Holy Cow!!!!!!
Peconic Sunset May 16, 2012 at 09:10 PM
That is a large amount of money but I don't know the scope of work so I can't assess whether it is a fair amount for the work performed. If this is in the public venue, it would be a great subject for investigative reporting.
RyeDad May 17, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Peconic Sunset: There is actually a lot more than $9,400,000 that hasn't been reported yet. Update to come.
RyeDad May 24, 2012 at 05:26 PM
$10,300,000.

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