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Jan 26, 2010 6:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Building Inspector suspended after Sag Harbor altercation

Jan 26, 2010 6:58 PM

Senior East Hampton Town Building Inspector Thomas Preiato has been suspended without pay for seven days, effective January 22, after he was arrested following an altercation with Sag Harbor Village Police on January 16.

The Town Board, which had named Mr. Preiato the department head of the building inspector’s office on January 7, voted unanimously on January 21 to suspend Mr. Preiato, who had been serving in the role of 
the chief building inspector since the death of former Chief Building Inspector Don Sharkey last summer.

Mr. Preiato reportedly intervened in a police interview of several youngsters on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, and, according to Sag Harbor Village Police, he accused the youths of confronting his son during a dispute over money earlier that day. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration, a misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a violation, and reportedly held up a gold badge while he was being arrested and told police that he worked for East Hampton Town.

Mr. Preiato’s case is the second instance since the new town administration took office January 1 of an East Hampton Town worker getting in trouble with the law.

Senior Harbormaster Don Bousson resigned his post earlier this month after he was arrested when East Hampton Town Police found half a pound of marijuana in his car.

Although Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a former vice president of human resources at the Walt Disney Corporation, 
would not comment on either man’s actions and said that he planned to set a policy of remaining 
silent about specific issues with town employees, he offered a glimpse into his personnel plan earlier this month.

“I will have a no-tolerance management style for drugs or alcohol for our employees while in the performance of their duties,” he said at the board’s first work session on January 5, adding that town workers should always act with the welfare of other employees and the citizens of the town at heart.

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being a builder in the hampton's for a long time......doing alot of building in the east hampton township.......i always found tom to be very professional and a great help to the success of our company......island east building llc....southampton.......i personally think many police over-react to different situations.......minor at that......i don't know the whole story but tom is a great guy .......let's keep supporting him....after all he was given a very high position in the building dept.......he ...more
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Jan 26, 10 5:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
"...He was given a very high (the highest?) position in the building dept..." and promptly thought that flashing around his gold shield gave him some sort of pass. Very poor judgement from someone who's at a high level in municipal government, despite his being a "great guy". Hopefully the rest of the gang at EH town hall get the "zero tolerance" message.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Jan 26, 10 5:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
zaz....what gives you the right and how dare you judge mr.preiato....do we know that he was flashing his badge looking''for some sort of pass''....did he tell you that......i didn't read that in the report in the paper....perhaps that was the only form of ID he had on him....he was WALKING......perhaps his other ID's were at home or in the car.......
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Jan 27, 10 8:52 AM
zaz.........remember we just had the police version.....that's why i stated that the whole story is not available to us...............i was taught from young that there are two sides to every coin...........perhaps the poor judgement was made by the arresting officer/s.........maybe not...........perhaps everyone involved needed to take a deep breathe.......nevertheless.....i think tom is an honorable man and i still support him..............by the way zaz....ever make a poor judgement your-self....does ...more
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Jan 26, 10 7:57 PM
Tom is a very fair building inspector. I find this story a little jaded.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jan 26, 10 8:29 PM
His being a fair building inspector has nothing to do with this incident, as far as I can read, so what is you point?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jan 27, 10 7:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
Perhaps this was not his first offense with his temper. Don't rush to judgement that the police were wrong. There were other witnesses to the incident. Being a great success to a company does not a building inspector make. Flashing his badge was very poor judgement.
By housewife (79), east hampton on Jan 26, 10 8:14 PM
housewife....funny the police at the scene said tom flashed his badge......i know and maybe you don't know....that if a policeman is pulled over for a traffic violation,the first thing they do is pull out their badge...........it,s called''professional courtesy''and they expect to be let off...........right or wrong that's what usually happens.......believe me.....i have family and friends that are policeman............thats why they give ''badges''to their friends...a little secret to you only....i ...more
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Jan 26, 10 9:35 PM
housewife.......suppose.....just suppose tom left his license in the car.....he was WALKING wasn't he.......just suppose mr.preiato used the badge only to ID himself and flashing his badge for no other reason...........do you still think he used poor judgement.............your post seems to imply that he was looking for a special favor.....don't judge the man until you know all the facts..........
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Jan 27, 10 9:05 AM
He's lucky there was no Taser needed when Tom was arrested. Imagine being tasered to death, like David Glowczenski, from Southampton Village. Not a nice way to go....
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jan 26, 10 10:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
I dunno, but Sag Harbor is a sleepy little town in the winter time and I'm sure the adrenaline was flowing. I think this whole story is so blown out of proportion. I know Mr. Preiato from having worked with him on many many occasions. I find it hard to believe he would "flash a badge" as a way to get professional "favor". I think the police overreacted (as usual around here). I called police to report a neighbor playing loud music in the wee hours of the a.m. & 4 police cars showed up. Anything ...more
By trublnocknatmydr (35), East Hampton on Jan 27, 10 2:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
I believe the whole Depetris clan got arrested. So I guess the answer to your question: "Where were you when the DePetris clan got locked up", is: Right there where they should have been. By the way, where were you exactly when the arrest of Mr Preiato took place? You were obviously there based on your statements, otherwise what you say would be pure conjecture.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jan 27, 10 9:40 PM
I don't know Mr. Preiato personally and don't dispute the statements that he is a competent building inspector and swell guy. I am merely pointing out the fact that if someone is a senior level town employee out here they are and should be held to a strict standard when it comes to their public conduct. We will see how it turns out but although both parties may have overreacted, when the Police are on a scene it isn't a good judgement call to get into a tangle with them. And often (and no it isn't ...more
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Jan 27, 10 5:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
If Mr Preiato wants a badge he should of taken the police test.
By BlueStreak (34), East End on Jan 28, 10 6:17 PM
I know Mr. Preiato personally and also happen to have seen that, like many people that carry badges, when he opens his wallet, his badge is on one side and his license is on the other. And, of course, that doesn't shed any light whether he "flashed his badge" or was merely identifying himself to the police.
From what I have heard "on the street", I agree it seems like a mountain is being made out of a molehill. With respect to all those involved, many (or most) of us might react the way Mr. ...more
By maggi (7), East Hampton on Jan 28, 10 9:42 PM
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I've known Tom for a long time. I've also had dealings with the Sag Harbor Police. They almost arrested me once for backing up 2 feet on Main Street when I saw someone leaving a parking spot. The cop literally screamed at me to move it, and when I tried to explain I wanted a parking spot, he yelled even more & threatened to arrest me. For trying to pull into a parking space? I also witnessed them yell at an elderly woman with a walker when she tried to jay-walk. They made her go all the way ...more
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Jan 29, 10 9:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ms. Jane Q Public:
Trying to figure out what your post has to do with anything other than your description of how you violated the law. Feel free to elaborate.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jan 29, 10 6:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Dear Bayman1 - The moral of the story is two-fold: 1. there's two sides to every story, and 2. this department has issues. Here's another story for you: I had to stop into their station once & found the door locked. After knocking for about 20 minutes (good thing the ex wasn't after me with a shotgun) they advised they kept the door locked because they didn't want to be bothered. By whom - someone who may need help?!! Yeah, I know - I should have been arrested that time for harassment & ...more
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 9:06 AM
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Ms. Jane Q Public:
I don't know what attempted B&E is, but your story sounds like nonsense.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 3, 10 3:49 PM
ms.jane q. public......you explained yourself well to the confrontial bayman 1.......your original points were understood by myself very well.......i didn't see any gray area in what you were saying...............
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Feb 2, 10 5:47 PM
bayman1...............read and learn.......b and e........is break-in and entering..........
By paulgabe1 (29), riverhead on Feb 3, 10 4:50 PM
Breaking and Entering does not exist in New York...Perhaps Ms Jane Q Public is referring to a "Sag Harbor" in another state where such a crime exists?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 3, 10 7:16 PM
You might want to wander down to the library, Bayman1, and check out the New York State Penal Laws....I think around Article 160. Since Sag Harbor IS in New York, these laws would apply to them as well....and you.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 9:03 AM
Section 160.00 Robbery; defined.
160.05 Robbery in the third degree.
160.10 Robbery in the second degree.
160.15 Robbery in the first degree.

S 160.00 Robbery; defined.
Robbery is forcible stealing. A person forcibly steals property and
commits robbery when, in the course of committing a larceny, he uses or
threatens the immediate use of physical force upon ...more
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 4, 10 11:48 AM
Very good...I'm so proud of you!
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 1:25 PM
No mention of "Breaking or Entering" in section 160 of the NYS Penal Law. Obviously, you don't know what you are talking about.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 4, 10 3:53 PM
Gee....just when I though I was making progress.....I should send you back to the library, but I'll be nice. Now go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burglary.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 4:41 PM
You made reference to Article 160 of the NYS penal Law being "Breaking and Entering" You are incorrect on both counts. As I wrote, there is no such this law in New York... Now go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrong.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 4, 10 5:28 PM