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A History of Crookhaven

Below is a New York Times Article discussing the corruption in the 1990s in Brookhaven.

Four former officials of the Town of Brookhaven have been charged in a Federal indictment with accepting bribes of as much as $250,000 to support a prominent developer's real-estate projects.

The indictment, unsealed today, grew out of statements made in September 1992 in Federal court by John McNamara, a car dealer and Long Island developer who pleaded guilty at that time to bilking General Motors out of $436 million in loans by faking the export of tens of thousands of vans.

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. McNamara admitted bribing officials in the Brookhaven town government, and for months, residents of this town of 420,000 people and 326 square miles, the largest on Long Island, have waited to learn their identities.

In the 1980's, Brookhaven, with its vast expanses of open space, became something of a last frontier for developers, and the town's favorable attitude toward some of them led many residents to nickname the town "Crookhaven." Some civic leaders questioned why town officials approved the plans of developers like Mr. McNamara over the objections of homeowners who sought to preserve some of the last enclaves of pine barrens and meadows on Long Island.

Some residents hailed the indictment today as an important step toward ending the backroom deals they say characterized the town's government, though they questioned whether it had gone far enough. Law-enforcement officials said the investigation was continuing, with more indictments possible.

In a statement released this morning, Zachary Carter, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District, announced that Buovodantona (Anthony) Aliperti and Peter A. Sapienza, former members of the Town Planning Board, and Anthony Losquadro and Donald W. Zimmer, former members of the Town Board, had received kickbacks in cash, discounted cars, real estate commissions and jobs in return for supporting Mr. McNamara's development projects.

Shell Game Alleged

Alan Vinegrad, the Assistant United States Attorney who supervised the investigation, said, "The payments by McNamara were motivated to insure that the defendants would act favorably on his real-estate projects." The defendants, who held office in the 1980's and left in the early 1990's, voted on Mr. McNamara's many projects during their terms.

In a separate indictment, the Government also charged Mr. Sapienza with assisting Mr. McNamara in his scheme to bilk General Motors.

According to court papers, Mr. Sapienza operated Kay Industries, a shell corporation owned by Mr. McNamara in Indianapolis, that apparently provided Mr. McNamara with false paperwork involving the purchase of tens of thousands of nonexistent vans and cars. This paperwork enabled Mr. McNamara to borrow more than $4 billion from the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the financing branch of the corporation, from 1989 to 1991.

Mr. McNamara then used that money to build a $400 million real-estate empire that included luxury town-house complexes and apartment buildings in Brookhaven, a golf course in Florida and a gold mine in Nevada.

Lawyers for Mr. Sapienza, Mr. Zimmer and Mr. Losquadro insisted that their clients were innocent and that Mr. McNamara was lying about their activities to save himself. Paul Gianelli, Mr. Aliperti's lawyer, did not return phone calls asking for comment.

In the court papers, Mr. Sapienza appears to be the biggest beneficiary of Mr. McNamara's payments, though all four men are accused of entering into a conspiracy to extort money from Mr. McNamara and his real estate and automobile companies. Payments Listed

Prosecutors said that Mr. Sapienza received $250,000 in cash payments from Mr. McNamara, and that he and another town official also were paid a $95,000 commission from Mr. McNamara's sale of land in Brookhaven shortly after the town had approved Mr. McNamara's request to rezone the property to allow more building.

The indictment also charges that Mr. Sapienza received $37,600 in kickbacks and more than $20,000 in home improvement work from the Crystal Brook Construction Corporation, a company not connected with Mr. McNamara.

The Brookhaven Town Supervisor, John LaMura, said today that he was disturbed by the indictments and that he had made reforms in the town government since taking over in 1992.

Some residents remain convinced that corruption persists. They point to Mr. Zimmer's being rehired by the town a few years ago as an executive assistant in the town's Economic Development Department and Mr. Losquadro's being given a job with the Suffolk County Off-Track Betting Corporation, as examples of how things have not changed.


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