Saugerties contractor Joseph Karolys and Shady homeowners Vincent and Gina Conigliaro face 200 counts of illegal dumping for the delivery of fill laden with construction debris.
The charges allege the Conigliaros “did intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, negligently and unlawfully” hire Joseph Karolys to haul the fill to the 10 Church Road property “no less than 200 dump truck loads of construction and demolition debris and to dump said no less than 200 dump truck loads of construction and demolition debris for the purpose of abandonment.”
Disposal of construction debris is a violation of the town Solid Waste Code.
Attached to the charges are supporting depositions from eight neighbors and Woodstock Town Supervisor Bill McKenna, who inspected the property in January 2020 after fielding complaints.
Building Inspector Ellen Casciaro filed the charges recently in Woodstock Town Court.
“Hopefully, it will be moving forward in the court system now,” McKenna said.
The town is prepared to hire contractors to remove the fill and have it disposed of in a state-licensed landfill, but it legally cannot spend money to remediate private property unless the owner is convicted of violating the law.
Vincent Conigliaro, who said he ordered the fill for a project on the property, has promised to pay for water testing of a neighbor’s well and removal of the fill. To date, the water has been tested once and there is no further progress.
The initial results show no significant contamination, but it could eventually reach drinking water if it is not removed.
The town board recently passed a resolution directing the town to clean up the property and to add the cost to the Conigiliaros’ tax bill.
“It’s a slow process but it’s a pretty clear one. And it’s one that the town is in a good position to win,” McKenna said at the February 9 town board meeting.
The penalty for illegal dumping is a requirement to reimburse the cost for cleanup and fines of $250 for the first violation, $300 for the second, $450 for the third and $1500 for each additional offense. With 200 counts, or one for every truckload, the Conigliaros and Karolys could each be ordered to pay nearly $300,000 plus cleanup costs.
Karolys faces multiple state environmental charges for transporting and storing contaminated construction debris at his Saugerties properties on Route 212, Goat Hill Road and Fel Qui Road. His most recent troubles were in June 2020 when he was charged with drunken driving after stealing a truckload of manure from Beaverkill Farm in Saugerties and causing an accident.
Neighbors noticed the activity in the late fall of 2019 and alerted the town in January 2020. The town alerted the Department of Environmental Conservation, which determined the activity did not violate state law. The town involved prosecutor John McGovern in June 2020 and took depositions from neighbors to mount a case as leverage in the event Vincent Conigliaro did not honor his promises.