Facing felony charges, waste dumper shows up late at court
ALBANY–Salvatore Cascino, 71, was a no-show for a scheduled appearance in Albany County Court, the morning of April 27. He did appear later in the day, but only after the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Mr. Cascino of Larchmont, Westchester County, and his Bronx-based waste-hauling business, Bronx County Recycling, LLC, were indicted in June 2010 by then state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office on three counts of first degree offering a false instrument for filing, each count a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
The indictment alleges that for three years, starting in 2008 Mr. Cascino failed to report to the state Department of Environmental Conservation that unauthorized solid waste was received at Bronx County Recycling.
“This recycler dumped dangerous construction debris and then routinely filed false reports with the state to hide his crime,” Mr. Cuomo said in a press release when the indictment was announced.
Mr. Cascino also owns a 300-acre property in Copake along the east side of Route 22, south of the hamlet, where for the past 14 years, he has violated federal, state and town laws by illegally dumping on the property called Copake Valley Farm. Low levels of friable asbestos, regulated by DEC as a hazardous air pollutant, were detected in a soil sample from the property in 2009. The case in Albany is separate from the cases involving his activities in Copake.
The purpose of last week’s court date before Judge Thomas A. Breslin in Albany County was to allow Mr. Cascino the chance to accept a plea deal worked out by his personal attorney, Dennis Schlenker, attorney Donald Kinsella for Bronx County Recycling, the DEC and the AG’s Office, according to both a source at the DEC and a spokesperson at Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Office.
But to the astonishment of the state officials present in court, when Mr. Cascino finally showed up, brought in on the bench warrant by a DEC investigator, he declined the deal, which presumably involved him pleading guilty to a lesser charge or charges.
The AG’s office spokesperson would not reveal the specifics of the deal since the defendant did not accept the terms.
It is not known whether Mr. Cascino’s attorney knew about his client’s intention to reject the deal. Mr. Schlenker declined to speak to The Columbia Paper about the matter when reached by phone at his law office Wednesday morning.
The AG’s spokesperson said Mr. Cascino has also filed a petition in court challenging the judge’s denial of his motion to dismiss the indictment, claiming the indictment amounts to double jeopardy.
As a result of ongoing legal action brought by the Town of Copake against Mr. Cascino, Acting State Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols issued a decision in November 2010 permanently prohibiting Mr. Cascino from violating Town Zoning Law in Copake.
Mr. Cascino was found not guilty of a misdemeanor count of fourth degree endangering the public health, safety or the environment after a jury trial in State Supreme Court at the Columbia County Courthouse in December 2010. The case was in connection with allegations that Mr. Cascino had released petroleum, a hazardous substance, on property along Route 9G in Clermont.
Judge Breslin adjourned the felony case in Albany County Court until a date for trial can be determined.