MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas is refusing the order of labor arbitrator John E. Sands to reinstate Michael Falzarano, “an investigator she fired for alleged interference with an Oyster Bay corruption probe, accusing him of tipping off at least one target of the investigation about a wiretap,” Newsday reported.
Arguments were heard in court in Mineola on September 17 concerning “the July order stemming from a union’s successful challenge to the June 2017 firing of its president, Special Investigator Falzarano,” Newsday reported, adding that the former NYPD lieutenant was fired “the same day former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and six others with ties to the municipality pleaded not guilty to corruption charges.”
The arbitrator had said that the DA’s office filed the charges against Falzarano “based on wiretap evidence that improperly disclosed the existence of eavesdropping warrants and sealed court records,” Newsday reported, adding that “Singas later called the arbitrator’s finding ‘really unconscionable.’”
Singas said, Newsday reported, “Accusing the District Attorney of violating the law is a serious accusation. We’re going to fight back hard against it because it is absolutely false. We alleged that this investigator disclosed the investigation to its targets, and in the course of this decision, he has to be reinstated and I’m accused of breaking the law? So we’re not going to stand for that.”
The arbitrator came to his decision that Falzarano should be reinstated because a grand jury did not indict him of the allegations made by Singas’ office but they chose to fire him and bring disciplinary charges in an illegal way, Newsday reported.
The prosecutors’ court papers indicate that “Falzarano wasn’t fired until the probe was over, and wiretap notices already had been provided ‘to charged defendants and other intercepted parties,’” Newsday reported, adding that Falzarano’s lawyer, David Davis, “told the judge Monday that no charges had been proved and the Nassau County Investigators Police Benevolent Association has a contract that provides for binding arbitration,” and “We don’t think there’s any basis to vacate this award, as repugnant as the county might find it.”
“The district attorney’s office had alleged in one charge Falzarano told an unnamed ‘target’ about an investigation involving wiretaps,” Newsday reported, adding that “Sands dismissed that administrative charge,” and “one alleging Falzarano was seen twice in a hallway where only investigators assigned to the wiretap probe were allowed to be.”
He also had not ruled on two other charges against Falzarano, but noted that those would not be grounds for firing the investigator if they hold up, Newsday reported, noting Sands’ remarks on his decision, “It’s inappropriate for me to respond to criticism. The decision is the decision. It speaks for itself.”