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A former longtime Town of Cortlandt employee and owner of a prominent Peekskill-based landscaping company were indicted last week in federal court for an alleged illegal dumping and bribery scheme at a town facility on Arlo Lane.
The seven-count indictment against Robert Dyckman, 51, former Assistant General Foreman in Cortlandt’s Department of Environmental Service Highway Division, and Glenn Griffin, 53, owner, president and principal of Griffin’s Landscaping Corporation, was announced July 21 by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“As alleged, Robert Dyckman, a former Town of Cortlandt employee, used his position of trust to enrich himself by allowing Glenn Griffin to dump unauthorized materials at the town’s facility, which will cost the town as much as $1.5 million to clean up,” Williams stated. “Griffin is also alleged to have defrauded the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the hamlet of Verplanck in a separate bid rigging scheme. My office will continue to ensure that corrupt business leaders and public officials will be brought to justice.”
As first reported by Examiner Media in January 2021, from 2018 until February 2020, Dyckman allegedly gave Griffin and his employees unauthorized access to land behind the town’s salt dome at the end of Arlo Lane to dump hundreds of large truckloads of unauthorized materials such as thick concrete, cement with rebar, large rocks, and soil from projects outside Cortlandt.
The scheme also involved the submission of fraudulent invoices totaling more than $100,000 for work not performed.
“The only way this worked is because there was someone on the inside,” Cortlandt Town Attorney Thomas Wood told Examiner Media in 2021. “There was someone in management.”
According to Wood, town officials first became suspicious of improprieties when another employee was sifting through material that had been unloaded on the site at the end of August in 2019 and it appeared to be more than was anticipated. Surveillance video allegedly showed trucks from Griffin’s Landscaping Corporation, and other unmarked vehicles, entering the property and dumping building and other material from non-town contracted projects.
The video footage, according to Wood, also allegedly showed Dyckman being present when Griffin trucks were there. Wood said Dyckman would sometimes leave the gate to the site unlocked or arrive on weekends with his own vehicle to oversee the illegal activity.
Wood said town officials later discovered improperly billed invoices for repairs to approximately 100 catch basins throughout town that were submitted by Griffin’s and signed off by Dyckman. Most of the repairs, according to Wood, were not done. Griffin has filed a lawsuit against the town seeking reimbursement, while the town has filed a counterclaim.
According to the indictment, in exchange for access to Arlo Lane, Griffin allegedly gave Dyckman cash bribes, firewood, flowers and gardening materials and made extensive improvements to Dyckman’s home in Verplanck at no cost. Griffin also allegedly gave Dyckman a backdated, false invoice for Dyckman to give to his insurance company in support of a false insurance claim.
Dyckman was employed for 28 years in Cortlandt before submitting a letter of resignation on January 12, 2021 that was accepted by the Town Board. His resignation as Assistant General Foreman, a position he held since July 2012, was effective as of October 22, 2019, which was about two months after town officials discovered the suspicious activity. In his resignation letter, Dyckman waived and renounced any claim to retiree health care benefits that he may have been eligible to receive.
Dyckman, who is being represented in the indictment by a federal public defender, filed a lawsuit on April 30, 2021 against Cortlandt seeking to get his old job back. That legal action is still pending.
“We’re glad justice is being sought,” Wood remarked Monday. “Unfortunately, with the pandemic it (investigation by county and federal officials) took forever, but they were very diligent.”
Based on estimates provided by third-party vendors, Cortlandt officials have estimated it will cost between $600,000 to $1.5 million to remove the materials dumped on the Arlo Lane site.
Meanwhile, as part of the indictment, Williams said between 2015 and 2018, Griffin also engaged in a bid-rigging scheme by defrauding the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, for work on its schools, and the hamlet of Verplanck, for work at its fire department.
Williams alleged Griffin made sham, non-competitive, and inflated bids on behalf of entities that Griffin did not work for or have authorization to submit bids on behalf of, so that he would be the low bidder in a pool of purportedly competitive bids and receive public money for work on the projects. Based on these sham, non-competitive, and inflated bids, Williams said Griffin was awarded contracts with a combined value exceeding $133,000.
“Glenn Griffin is one of the most professional and well-respected landscaping contractors and designers in Westchester County,” Stephen G. McCarthy, Jr., an attorney for Griffin’s Landscaping, said Monday. “We have absolute and complete faith in the fundamental fairness of the criminal justice system.”
If convicted of the three counts he’s facing, Dyckman could receive a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Griffin is facing a maximum sentence of 62 years behind bars for the six counts filed against him.
Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Westchester County Police Department in the probe, along with the assistance of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Department of Investigation.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/