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N.Y. To Pay $10.8M in Witness Case

July 23, 1998

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (AP) _ The state must pay the families of two slain garbage contractors $10.8 million for failing to protect the men, who were helping an investigation into mob activity in Long Island’s garbage-hauling industry.

Judge Leonard Silverman of the State Court of Claims found in November 1996 that the state was liable for the shooting deaths of Robert M. Kubecka, 40, and Donald E. Barstow, 35, two carters who helped investigators after the state promised to protect them.

On June 30, he ruled that the state owed the families of the men a total of $7.8 million for the loss of income to their families and for the emotional damage to their young children. He decided they would get another $3 million for the pain and trauma the men suffered just before they died.

The judge noted that Kubecka telephoned a member of the state’s Organized Crime Task Force on Aug. 9, 1989 to report he had received threatening telephone calls that day but was told to call Suffolk County police instead.

The two brothers-in-law were shot to death in the offices of their family-owned carting company in East Northport.

Information they provided to investigators helped the state build cases against 26 carting company officials, politicians and reputed members of the Lucchese crime family.

Chris McKenna, a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s office, did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.

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