Two weeks ago, the Village of Manorhaven used the snow removal services of one man who tried to cheat the village out of $270,000 and another who settled an $80,000 lawsuit against the village.
The first man, Carlo Strangolagalli, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2013, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation for third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
He was paid $1,620 for 18 hours of work on March 14, 15 and 16, according to the village’s abstract of claims. Strangolagalli operated a bobcat and cleaned corners and curb cuts during a snowstorm.
Following Superstorm Sandy in 2013, Strangolagalli, along with a former Board of Trustees candidate, Michael Mercante, pretended to be the new owner of a construction company hired to help remove debris and trees and demanded $271,914 from the village, according to a village news release in 2013.
Strangolagalli and Mercante sent a forged letter to the village saying they had bought John Construction, the village news release said.
Anthony Soldano, who settled an $80,000 lawsuit against the village for damages to a property he rented to the village in 2009, worked as a volunteer for the village during the storm.
Soldano, who owns Port Empire Auto Center, has also been repairing vehicles for the village.
The village paid him $20,284 on Sept. 12, 2016; $11,172 on Oct. 25, 2016; $4,426 on Jan. 23; $25 on March 20; and $1,620 on March 21.
Village of Manorhaven Mayor Jim Avena said Strangolagalli’s past didn’t cross his mind when he decided to hire him to remove snow during the recent storm.
“He did a great job,” Avena said. “I didn’t take his past into consideration but I wanted to keep the village safe. He did a terrific job clearing the corners, and if the corners aren’t clear kids get on the school bus in the middle of the street.”
When asked about Soldano’s work, Avena said, “My mission was to get the place cleaned up and keep it safe.”
Attempts to reach Strangolagalli and Soldano were unavailing.
The village also used Creative Snow by Cow Bay Contracting during the storm, Avena said, but fired the company for poor service.
Efforts to reach Cow Bay Contracting were unavailing.
Village Trustee Ken Kraft said he had not heard about the village using Soldano and Strangolagalli until afterward, and doesn’t know much of the background on their history with the village.
Kraft said Avena handles all of the hiring and he may have done it because the village fired Creative Snow.
“If they had problems with someone in the past, then maybe it’s not a good idea to use them, but they might have done it because they were in a bind,” Kraft said. “But I don’t know for sure if they had the chance to use someone else.”
When asked if she thought hiring Strangolagalli was a good decision, Deputy Mayor Priscilla von Roeschlaub said, “I don’t look at the past, and I can only say that I look forward.”
“I have nothing to say about that,” she said. “I am not going to give you my opinion. I do not think that is appropriate.”
Trustees Rita DiLucia and John Popeleski did not respond to a request for comment.