The former commissioner of public safety for the Town of Hempstead, Thomas DeMaria, was indicted for ticket-fixing after he allegedly voided a ticket for a town employee’s daughter, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.
The 67-year-old from Floral Park was indicted by a grand jury in mid-November on three counts, according to a news release. He was arrested Tuesday, pleaded not guilty and has been released.
DeMaria, a former village trustee, was indicted on charges of tampering with public records in the second degree, obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and official misconduct. The charges are class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.
According to the indictment, a Town of Hempstead employee’s daughter illegally parked her car in a handicapped spot at Harold Walker Memorial Park in Lakeview in July 2018. She did not have the proper permit and was ticketed by a town public safety officer.
Prosecutors said the unidentified father asked DeMaria to void the ticket.
Days later, DeMaria allegedly told another employee to void the ticket so it would not be processed by Nassau County Traffic Court. The employee allegedly logged into the Town of Hempstead computer system before voiding the ticket.
Acting District Attorney Joyce Smith said her office is committed to rooting out corruption.
“This defendant abused his authority as a chief public official in Hempstead when he allegedly instructed his employee to make a colleague’s daughter’s parking ticket disappear,” Smith said in a statement. “Public corruption takes many forms – large and small – and NCDA is committed to rooting out this conduct no matter the scale and holding government officials accountable when their actions rise to the level of criminality.”
DeMaria’s attorney, Marc Gann, said the case was ludicrous and that the woman in question worked for the town and was conducting town business at the time of the ticketing.
“This is the most ridiculous case I have ever seen and to be classified as public corruption is ludicrous,” Gann said in a statement.
He said that following an investigation into the Department of Public Safety, the closest thing to an infraction that was found was this single instance.
“The district attorney did a complete investigation to determine whether there was a systemic issue,” Gann said. “In the entire investigation, they determined that the only ticket that they even can possibly claim was voided inappropriately, is this single ticket from 2018.”
Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Davidman of the Public Corruption Bureau is prosecuting the case.
DeMaria’s next court date is Jan. 10.