Attorney General James and DEC Interim Commissioner Mahar Sue Contractor for Illegal Construction Near Protected Wetlands on Long Island

Anthony Labriola and His Companies Destroyed Protected Wetland Buffer Area Near the Carlls River to Use as a Parking Lot and Storage Facility

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar today filed a lawsuit against Anthony Labriola and his two affiliate companies—ALAC Realty, LLC (ALAC Realty) and ALAC Contracting Corp. (ALAC Contracting)—for illegally building a storage lot to park heavy-duty construction vehicles and store equipment on a protected area along the Carlls River in West Babylon, Suffolk County. Labriola and his companies removed trees and other vegetation from, then graded, a designated “buffer area” adjacent to wetlands of the Carlls River, the fourth longest river on Long Island. These wetlands have DEC’s highest classification for the benefits they offer, including providing wildlife habitats, and flood control and protecting water quality on Long Island. 

Despite a years-long enforcement effort by DEC, Labriola and his companies have refused to remove equipment, restore the site, and pay outstanding penalties. Attorney General James and DEC are seeking to require Labriola to clean up the site, replant it with native vegetation, and for Labriola and his companies to pay at least $591,000 in combined civil penalties.

“New York’s freshwater wetlands are a valuable natural resource, particularly in highly developed areas like western Suffolk County, providing wildlife habitats, flood control, and water quality protection. It is important to protect their benefits for current residents and generations to come,” said Attorney General James. “Anthony Labriola and his companies blatantly violated our environmental laws and continued to evade enforcement efforts, but now we are going to make sure he restores what he has damaged. I want to thank DEC for their continued partnership in defending our natural resources.”

“Freshwater wetlands help protect water quality, provide habitats for wildlife, and promote community resiliency, among many other benefits, and illegal construction and removal of vegetation from regulated areas in and around wetlands can negatively impact the environment and communities long after the initial damage,” said DEC Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar. “DEC is working closely with Attorney General James to hold Anthony Labriola accountable for his illegal actions and require this contractor to restore damage to these wetlands, which are critical to the sustained protection of Long Island’s sole source aquifer.”

Freshwater wetlands throughout the state control flooding and provide valuable habitats for a diverse array of wildlife, among other benefits. To protect these wetlands and surrounding areas, the New York Freshwater Wetlands Act prohibits removing trees and vegetation, placing fill, or building commercial facilities on designated wetlands and protected adjacent “buffer areas” without a permit from DEC. 

New York’s wetlands are classified on a scale ranging from Class I wetlands, which provide the most environmental benefits, to Class IV wetlands, which provide the least. These benefits refer to the work wetlands do for the surrounding community, such as storing flood and storm surge water. The Carlls River wetlands are Class I wetlands, and particularly valuable to the Long Island environment because of their biological diversity and role in protecting Long Island’s sole source aquifer.

In February 2015, DEC issued a notice of violation to Labriola after discovering that he had illegally cleared trees and vegetation and built a parking lot on top of the protected Carlls River wetlands-adjacent buffer area on a property his company owns at 420 Falmouth Road in West Babylon. Despite DEC’s enforcement efforts and Labriola's agreement to remove the construction equipment from the protected area and revegetate it with native plantings, Labriola repeatedly failed to comply, and instead continued to use the area illegally as parking and storage for his construction business, ALAC Contracting. The DEC estimates that by storing his construction vehicles, equipment, and materials on the illegally utilized area, Labriola and his companies have to date saved nearly $150,000 that they would have had to pay to use commercial space in the vicinity.


   Site at 420 Falmouth Road in 2010, Before Illegal Construction       


Site at 420 Falmouth Road in 2024, After Illegal Construction

For years of violating the consent order with DEC, Attorney General James and DEC Interim Commissioner Mahar are seeking an injunction requiring Labriola and ALAC Realty to completely remove illegally stored vehicles and equipment, revegetate the wetland-adjacent area with native trees and other plantings as previously agreed, and pay civil penalties totaling no less than $371,000. The OAG and DEC also seek to compel ALAC Contracting to pay civil penalties of no less than $220,000 and to remove all of its vehicles and equipment from the regulated area covered by DEC’s consent order with Labriola and ALAC Realty. 

Attorney General James thanks DEC for their continued partnership in protecting New York’s natural resources.

The matter is being handled for DEC by Long Island Regional Attorney Craig Elgut, Regional Manager in the Bureau of Ecosystem Health Kevin Jennings, and Regional Enforcement Coordinator Chris Spies.

This matter is being handled for the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) by Senior Enforcement Counsel Andrew Gershon and Assistant Attorney General Max Shterngel of the Environmental Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Wagner and Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic. The Environmental Protection Bureau is part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.