Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced on Aug. 26 that the owner of a prominent Long Island paving company was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge for bribery to help facilitate the construction of a senior housing development in Hicksville.
Elia “Aly” Lizza, 72, of Oyster Bay Cove, pleaded guilty on Jan. 16 to one count of bribery in the second degree (a C felony). Lizza also paid $350,000 to settle a civil forfeiture action brought against him by the NCDA’s Civil Forfeiture Bureau. The NCDA had recommended a sentence of one to three years in prison.
Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving, Inc.—a defunct paving company owned by Elia Lizza—was sentenced to a conditional discharge. The company pleaded guilty on Jan. 16 to one count of bribery in the second degree (a C felony).
Former Oyster Bay official Frank Antetomaso, 80, of Massapequa, pleaded guilty on Aug. 26 to disorderly conduct (a violation).
The case against Marisa Lizza, 65, was dismissed Aug. 25. She was exculpated when her husband, Elia Lizza, pled guilty.
“This case exposed a brazen pay-to-play culture in Oyster Bay government that included bribery, rampant nepotism and illegal favors for the friends and family of those in power,” Singas said. “This investigation exposed how a dysfunctional government in Oyster Bay benefited crooked contractors and local officials, while honest taxpayers and business owners who played by the rules were shut out.”
According to the indictment, Elia Lizza issued approximately $1.6 million worth of checks from 2009 to 2016 from personal accounts to Oyster Bay Commissioner of Planning and Development Frederick Ippolito for his role in negotiating anticipated payments of more than $20 million dollars to Lizza from the developer of Cantiague Commons—a $150 million residential housing complex for seniors. Ippolito was simultaneously controlling the oversight of the developer’s rezoning application and site plan approval.
To further facilitate the deal, Ippolito negotiated the sale of 50 Engel St. in Hicksville, where Lizza’s asphalt plant was located, to the Town of Oyster Bay. The town would not approve the rezoning application for Cantiague Commons given its proximity to the asphalt plant.
According to Singas, Ippolito and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto advocated to the town board on behalf of Lizza in connection with the subject application, and concealed Ippolito’s financial interest in the project.
On Dec. 18, 2012, the town board conditionally granted the rezoning application.
Ippolito was indicted by the IRS for failing to disclose these payments, and died in 2017 while serving a 27-month prison sentence.
Antetomaso—a former Town of Oyster Bay official and principal of engineering firm Sidney Bowne that was working on the Cantiague Commons project—allegedly passed messages between Ippolito and Elia Lizza.
Venditto was acquitted of federal corruption charges, but pleaded guilty to state charges corrupt use of position or authority (an E felony) and official misconduct (an A misdemeanor) in July 2019. He avoided jail, but lost his law license and died this past March.
The original indictment charged the defendants with more than 200 hundred counts. All but 40 counts were dismissed as having been abated by Ippolito’s death. Lizza was allowed to plead to the highest count—bribery in the second degree—in the interest of judicial economy.
—Submitted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office