Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

Patchogue Code Enforcement Officer Forcibly Touched Women on Duty, Cops Say

A Patchogue Village Code Enforcement officer was arrested Wednesday for alleged sexual misconduct with two women on two separate occasions since last month while he was on duty, Suffolk County police said.

Dennis Fajardo, 28, of Brentwood, was charged with sexual misconduct and forcible touching. Under New York State law, sexual misconduct is defined as engaging in sexual contact with a person without their consent. 

Major Case Unit detectives alleged that in both cases, the suspect picked the women up on Main Street in Patchogue early in the morning, drove them around, parked his vehicle and engaged in unlawful sexual contact with the victims.

A 35-year-old woman reported that the first incident occurred at 4:30 a.m. April 16. A 24-year-old woman reported the second incident at 4 a.m. May 13.

Fajardo is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Baldwin Man Admits Killing Syosset Woman

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A man has admitted to beating a 25-year-old Syosset woman to death at his Baldwin home two years ago.

Raphael Oyague

Raphael Oyague pleaded guilty Thursday in Nassau County court to second-degree murder in the death of Deanna Wingender.

“A young woman’s life was tragically brought to an end when this defendant savagely attacked her with a hammer, striking her all over her body,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Prosecutors said the 37-year-old man was found covered in the victim’s blood after Nassau County police followed a trail of blood to his apartment after passersby reported finding the victim’s body was found on Grand Avenue at 12:40 p.m. Nov. 23, 2016.

Authorities have said the beating occurred during a dispute over payment for sex.

Oyague faces up to 20 years to life in prison when he is sentenced June 29 by Judge Felice Muraca.

2 Convicted of Uniondale Revenge Murder

Left to right: Jorge Burgess and Joshua Taylor.

Two men were convicted this week of fatally shooting a 32-year-old man in the victim’s hometown of Uniondale two years ago in retaliation for a fight.

A Nassau County just found Joshua Taylor guilty of second-degree murder and his co-defendant, Jorge Burgess, guilty of second-degree manslaughter, in the death of Jude St. Clair. Both were also convicted of criminal possession of a weapon. 

“Jude St. Clair was lured to his death by these defendants who were seeking revenge for a fight,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Prosecutors said the two 25-year-old men shot and killed the victim multiple times while the victim was standing on the side of Nassau Road at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. The shooters called him over to their car, but were seeking revenge for a fight earlier in the morning between Taylor’s cousin and the victim, authorities said.

Burgess was arrested days later and Taylor was apprehended in Connecticut nearly a month later. A third suspect, Kadeem Lyle, is awaiting trial on charges of criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution. He is due back in court Wednesday.

The jury deliberated two days before reaching a verdict. Taylor, of Hempstead, faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Judge William O’Brien. Burgess, of Uniondale, faces up to 15 years in prison. Both are due back in court June 12.

Tennessee Claims It Invented The Long Island Iced Tea

An interstate booze battle broke out this week when a Tennessee city re-staked its claim to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea a half century before LI’s mixologists concocted the cocktail.  

Kingsport, Tenn. tourism officials say a resident there invented the LI iced tea during the Prohibition era and named the drink after their Long Island — a four-mile-long strip of land in the Holston River. The local version of the famously stiff drink is said to have been first mixed at the Oak Beach Inn in the 1970s.

“The drink has a long and very interesting history and we just felt like it was time for us to embrace it and our role in its creation,” said Jud Teague, executive director of Visit Kingsport.

LI’s tourism board balked at the mixed-drink historical revision, noting that while the two beverages share a name, their ingredients are slightly different.

“We use triple sec and they use whisky and maple syrup,” said Maggie LaCasse, director of communications for Discover Long Island. “Long Island’s very proud of our Long Island Iced Tea and we’ll defend it … but the drinks are different.”

Teague said Tennessee’s LI iced tea was invented by Charlie “Old Man” Bishop, who illegally distilled liquor on Kingport’s Long Island. Bishop used rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila with a bit of maple syrup. Two decades later, his son, Ransom, tweaked the recipe by adding lemon, lime and cola, Teague added.

The late Robert “Rosebud” Butt is said to have invented the modern LI iced tea while mixing drinks during a bartending contest at the defunct OBI in 1972. Besides using triple sec instead of whisky, the locally devised and more popular version also includes sour mix.

“Possibly similar concoctions were created elsewhere, at another time,” Butt posted on his website, liicetea.com. “But the Long Island Iced Tea, as we know and love it, is truly a product of Long Island, created by a true Long Islander, at a Genuine Long Island institution with a famous story all its own.”

Of course, the Long Island Iced Tea isn’t the first mixed drink to become topic of a spirited debate surrounding its origin, nor will it be the last. Just like the barroom brawl over who invented the Negroni, the LI iced tea argument is sure to linger.

Suspect Charged With 2011 Mastic Beach Murder

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Photo by www.houstondwiattorney.net

A Medford man was arrested Thursday for allegedly killing a 26-year-old woman in her Mastic Beach home seven years ago, Suffolk County police said.

William Hubbard was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Shanell Malave.

Homicide Squad detectives alleged the 48-year-old suspect killed the victim at her Magnolia Drive home, where officers responding to a report of an unresponsive woman found Malave dead in her bed at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office later determined that Malave’s death was a homicide.

Hubbard was taken into custody on County Road Route 111 in Manorville at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. He was held overnight and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Suffolk County court in Riverhead.

Long Island Bank CEO Spent $3M in Stolen Cash on Lottery, Feds Say

A credit union executive from Valley Stream has been accused of embezzling $6 million from the financial institution and spending about half of that money on lottery tickets, federal prosecutors said.

Kam Wong, the president and CEO of Municipal Credit Union (MCU), was charged Tuesday at Manhattan federal court with bank fraud, wire fraud, embezzlement from a federally insured credit union, and identity theft.

“The CEO and president of New York’s oldest credit union abused his position of trust … to enrich himself,” said Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “Wong allegedly stole money from the credit union’s earnings that were intended to reward the credit union’s members, not line Wong’s pockets.”

Prosecutors said the 62-year-old banker submitted hundreds of thousands of “sham invoices” for dental work never performed on him or paid by him and used the reimbursements and other questionable payments to embezzle the funds since 2013.

He deposited the money into an account, withdrew funds and spent at least $3.5 million on lottery tickets, according to investigators. When he learned of the investigation, he allegedly misled federal agents to justify the payments, authorities said. MCU’s board placed him on leave in February following an internal investigation.

The nonprofit MCU has 425,000 members, including municipal, state, and federal workers, with its earnings intended to be directed back to its members in the form of more favorable rates and lower fees, authorities noted.

Wong faces up to 30 years in prison, if convicted of the most serious charges before Judge James Cott.

Long Island DAs Probing Disgraced NY AG

Ex-New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas the special prosecutor tasked with investigating domestic abuse allegations against disgraced New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned Tuesday.

Suffolk Count District Attorney Timothy Sini also announced that his office will investigate one of the alleged incidents that occurred in the Hamptons, according to this week’s bombshell report in The New Yorker magazine. Schneiderman announced his resignation three hours after the report — detailing similar claims from four women recounting physical abuse by the AG — was posted online Monday.

“News of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s alleged improprieties as the State’s chief legal officer are grossly disturbing and must be fully investigated,” Cuomo said. “The brave women who chose to come forward deserve swift and definitive justice in this matter.”

After Schneiderman left office at 5 p.m. Tuesday, State Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood was sworn in as Acting New York State Attorney General. The state Legislature is debating whether to appoint a temporary replacement. Voters will decide who’ll be the state’s new top prosecutor on Election Day.

“Pursuant to the governor’s executive order, we will vigorously investigate the allegations for which jurisdiction has been granted,” Singas’ office said in a statement. “I will not accept any appointment nor seek election to the office of the New York State Attorney General.”

Democrats who’ve reportedly expressed interest include Singas’ old boss, former Nassau District Attorney and current U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) — who lost a 2010 Democratic primary to Schneiderman for the AG post — state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), Public Advocate Letita James, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and perennial candidate Zephyr Teachout.

The New Yorker story described two of Schneiderman’s ex-girlfriends claims that the AG — who held himself out as an advocate for women’s rights in the wake of the #MeToo movement — allegedly slapped, choked and emotionally abused them without consent.

A high-profile attorney who remained anonymous was quoted in the magazine as detailing a sexually aggressive encounter with Schneiderman that left her frightened following a party in the Hamptons in the summer of 2016.

“He slapped me across the face hard, twice,” she told The New Yorker, which reported that her face was still red the following day. “I was stunned.”

“Now that I know it’s part of a pattern, I think, God, I should have reported it,” she was quoted as saying. “But, back then, I believed that it was a one-time incident. And I thought, He’s a good attorney general, he’s doing good things. I didn’t want to jeopardize that.”

“I knew it was wrong,” she told The New Yorker. “Our top law officer, this guy with a platform for women’s rights, just smacked away so much of what I thought he stood for.”

Bethpage Man Convicted of Killing Wife

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A Bethpage man was convicted of killing his wife, assaulting his daughter and leading Nassau County police on a high-speed chase that ended in a fiery crash two years ago, prosecutors said.

A jury found Robert Crumb, 45, guilty of second-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest Monday at Nassau County court. 

“This defendant brutally murdered the mother of his children, assaulted his daughter, and endangered the lives of police and the public in a reckless high-speed chase,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Prosecutors said he killed his wife, Maria, at their Seitz Drive home, where officers who responded to a 911 call reporting an assault with a weapon, found the victim dead and the suspect fleeing the scene at 12:39 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

An argument over the couple’s impending divorce led to the slaying, authorities said. The couple’s two children tried to break it up.

Police chased the suspect westbound on the Southern State Parkway and onto the Belt Parkway, where he exited at Pennsylvania Avenue and crashed his vehicle into a gas station at Flatlands Avenue, police had said.

After the crash, Crumb charged at one of the officers, knocking him to the ground, causing him to lose consciousness before multiple officers then jumped onto Crumb and took him into custody.  

Judge Terence Murphy ordered Crumb held without bail. Crumb faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced June 14.

 

Suspect Wanted for Killing Deacon Arrested

Sirens Blue Caravan Red Lights Police Cars Car

A suspect wanted for killing a 70-year-old deacon in Roosevelt last fall was apprehended in Memphis, Tennessee following a national manhunt and is being extradited to Long Island, Nassau County police said.

Andrew Patton

Andre Patton, 47, of Roosevelt, was charged with second-degree murder in the Nov. 3 stabbing death of Deacon Patrick Logsdon.

Officers had responded to an aided case at Anthony House on East Roosevelt Avenue, where Patton was the program manager of the facility run by St. Vincent dePaul of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Upon arrival, they found the victim had been stabbed numerous times. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Homicide Squad detectives tracked Patton down with the assistance of the Memphis Tennessee Police Violent Crime Unit and U.S. Marshals.

He will be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Paul Pontieri: Patchogue’s Comeback Continues

Paul Pontieri is in his 14th year as Patchogue mayor.

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, who’s currently serving his fourth term leading the artsy South Shore village, is a lifelong resident who’s seen his hometown at its best and its worst. He recently chatted with us about Patchogue’s rebirth, environmentally progressive policies, race relations and the new brewery in town. Here are excerpts of our conversation.

Long Island Press: How does it feel to be leading the village amid a Renaissance?

Paul Pontieri: The fact that the community has grown and become a better place, is what it’s really all about. I feel good for the Village of Patchogue, the fact that other people are prospering from it.

LIP: What is your vision for the village?

PP: I grew up here. I was here since the best of times in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when downtown was 70 percent retail, new restaurants, two theaters… packed every weekend. I was here when it sort of slid off a cliff with the big box stores taking much of the business off of Main Street. What I came into town wanting to do was to make downtown active again. And I thought the only way to do that was to put what I call feet on the street. Put people living in the downtown. We have 700 residential units circling the downtown within walking distance. It’s about the whole community prospering by what happens downtown. It’s a symbiotic relationship between those two things that creates the strength of the community.

LIP: The board recently approved the creation of a cultural arts district. Why is that important?

PP: You have the entertainment on Main Street, you have the arts on Terry Street. It’s about creating an identity. It’s about having people think about the village other than just bars and restaurants on Main Street. The arts become part of the culture.

LIP: The village also banned plastic foam cups and containers starting this fall. What was the impetus for that?

PP: A year ago this past September we banned single-use plastic bags. You don’t find them in any of our restaurants and markets here in town. And it’s all about an environmental push. We’re a waterfront community. Styrofoam cups take 500 years to degrade. We do a Patchogue River cleanup in the spring and the fall and more particularly in the fall, at the end of that cleanup, you look at what gets picked up, the amount of Styrofoam cups and containers that get wedged in the corners of the marinas. It’s amazing.

LIP: Can you talk about the grants the village received to improve its shorefront?

PP: Three years ago, I had gotten a call from a person here in the village. She has a foundation. And we had a discussion about what does the village need to go forward. The single thing that is taxpayer driven in every community and not really reimbursable…is parks and recreation. She made a private donation to the village, a grant of $5 million. The first thing we did was we went to three of our pocket parks. Spent about $3 million. That left us about $2 million. We put in a Consolidated Funding
application to redesign Shorefront Park…and we will be taking out the bulkheading and creating a living shoreline. My understanding is from the environmentalists is it’s less intrusive and with big storms, less damaging.

LIP: Besides economic and environmental improvements, the village has also worked to improve race relations in the wake of the Marcelo Lucero murder. How have things changed in that regard over the last decade?

PP: Back then, when you walked down the street, when a Hispanic or minority person was coming, you don’t know if they weren’t seen or they didn’t want to be seen. But people seemed to hide from each other. And you don’t get that feeling anymore. I think that we’ve fostered a sense of trust, and we just have to keep that up.

LIP: What’s next for the village?

PP: The Blue Point Brewery is rebuilding the Briarcliffe College into a full-blown brewery. They’re talking about being ready to pour beer for public consumption somewhere around May 15 and to start to brew around April 20. So that’s very exciting. That’s going to bring another element to the village that most communities don’t have.

RELATED STORY: After Decade of Reinvention, Patchogue Once Again a Seaside Gem
RELATED STORY: How Patchogue’s Arts Scene Sculpted its Comeback