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Charges Said to be Pending Against Garden City Park Assistant Chief

Asst. Chief Michael Magas could face possible dismissal from department.

The 2013 Cellini Lodge Festival in New Hyde Park (l) and Michael Megas (r). Photo credit: Composite
The 2013 Cellini Lodge Festival in New Hyde Park (l) and Michael Megas (r). Photo credit: Composite

Departmental charges are a distinct possibility against a Garden City Park Fire Department Assistant Chief regarding alleged misconduct after being involved with a search by Nassau County Police relating to an incident at the Cellini Lodge Festival this past August.

Michael Magas, a third assistant chief of the fire department at the time, allegedly came to the home of resident Dawn Ward on August 14 after her 19-year old son came into an altercation with a security guard at the fairgrounds in Michael J. Tully Park earlier that night.

“The security guard was saying ‘can you move it along’... and they said ‘we’re moving’ and he said ‘I said move faster’ and my son said ‘we’re moving’, something to that effect,” Ward said recounting her son’s description of the events, stating that the guard placed his hands around her son’s throat. “Everybody just described it as one of his hands – I don’t think both – he took his hands and just open-handedly pushed him by his neck type of thing.”

Ward stated that her son “took him and from my understanding it’s he shoved (the guard)... and the guy fell.”

In a September 5 letter to the Garden City Park Fire Commissioner Board, Ward wrote that police were eventually called to search for her son, who had left the festival and gone home.

“Everyone’s out looking for this particular kid in a red shirt,” Ward said in a phone conversation. “That’s when this particular chief happened to see him walking home and he’s like ‘kid, stop... you have to come with me and my kid’s like get out of here and then he started running home and that’s when they chased him.”

In her letter, Ward said that almost immediately after arriving home, two persons who “identified themselves as being “with the fire department’,“ arrived and attempted to gain entry into her home, one of which was Magas, who was utilizing a fire chief’s vehicle at the time. Nassau County Police Officers arrived shortly thereafter.

“When I opened my front door (Magas) and this (other fire department individual) were on my front porch and then the police offices were all on my grass,” Ward said, adding that Magas listened as she spoke to officers about the incident. “And then after however long, five, six seven minutes, whatever it was, he left. He came back a few minutes later and he had the security guard that got into the altercation with my son in his car.”

Ward said that it was agreed that both her son and the security guard agreed not to press charges against each other.

In response to Ward’s September 5 letter, Garden City Park Fire Commissioner Board Chairman Chris Engel send a letter dated September 26 that stating that an investigation would be conducted regarding the matter and that “we are working on new rules that will make it clear that this type of conduct is unacceptable. However, there is an issue created by the fact that there was no rule that directly addressed this type of conduct at the time that the conduct occurred.”

Magas is also a member of the NYPD, a fact addressed in Engel’s letter in which he states that “there is also a jurisdictional issue that arises when a member is also a police officer, and elects to act as a police officer when he or she believes that a breach of the peace has occurred. Under such circumstance the issue is with his police employer and not with the fire department/ fire district.”

Robert Mirabile, one of the Garden City Park Fire Department assistant chiefs, said that Magas “was asked for assistance by an officer who knew him only as a fire chief.”

It is not known whether Magas violated any NYPD policies for attempting to act as a police officer out of uniform or while using fire district equipment during a police action. Magas had declined all comments with the case citing advice from his attorney.

A closed-door session with commissioners investigating the incident was held on September 26, with Magas first denying being on Ward’s property at the time but then altering the story and apologizing for any wrongdoing according to Ward.

Mirabile stated that the department’s official stance on the incident was that “as far as an allegation being made, the department chiefs found no wrongdoing and the board of commissioners agreed and found that there was no wrongdoing.”

In his own opinion, Mirabile said that personally, “I do not feel this would not be an issue if it weren’t for a contested election.”

However, Mirabile’s assertions were disputed by sitting board commissioner Augie Carnevale.

“I don’t know where Rob is getting his information,” Carnevale said. “There’s not paperwork exonerating Michael. Right now it’s an ongoing investigation.”

Garden City Park Fire Chief Roger Green declined to make a comment about the case stating that “it is something that is being investigated,” emphasizing that “no one is authorized to make any comment” and “any comment made by anyone other than myself as chief of the department is not representative of the chief’s staff of the department.”

Carnevale stated that departmental charges are still pending against Magas, which presumably will come at the board’s December 19 meeting and could possibly include that of conduct unbecoming a member of the department.

“The board of commissioners has guaranteed that there will be hearing but has not issued or notified anyone of that date yet,” Green said.

Carnevale said that an arbitrator is scheduled to come in some time in January 2014 to hear both sides. The arbitrator then has 30 days from the conclusion of the arbitration hearing to render a decision and recommend to the board of commissioners if Magas should face suspension for a period of time, a demotion in rank or possible dismissal from the department. The board though has the right to overrule the arbitrator if it sees fit. Carnevale said that the arbitration hearing would be open to the public.

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John Kerrigan December 10, 2013 at 09:57 AM
If this is not an election issue why does Mrs. Ward have a Carl Woods sign on her lawn
Prentice December 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM
maybe since there is a conflict of interest on the commissioners board an employee and an employer so the vote is always 2 verse 1. She needs an outside person to become commissioner so She could be treated fairly. Also from what I just heard the Ward's live at the end of a dead-end street how did you see the sign you would have to drive down the dead-end street and go to her house
Prentice December 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Okay I wanted to double verify this before I posted it , according to the letters and the date of incident , This began way before Carl Wood announced he was going to run for commissioner , I did my homework
John Kerrigan December 10, 2013 at 11:28 AM
If Carl says he does not know Mrs, Ward I guess its just a coincidence. If someone from the public would run then it would not be 2 against 1 Hopefully it would be a person with some intelligence
PUBLIC December 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM
We would just love if you can write a story about Carl Wood. Let's talk about his resume, his present career, or his previous held positions in our town or in the Firehouse & why he's so interested in running for election ... Just a thought
PUBLIC December 10, 2013 at 01:00 PM
this is GREAT !! Keep up the good work newspaper ! Deleting the comments that are in contest of your article !!! DO YOUR RESEARCH !!!!
PUBLIC December 10, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Carl Can we please see your resume ?
John Kerrigan December 10, 2013 at 01:06 PM
This is not an issue on Mike Magas the issue is just revenge for throwing his daughter out of the department. If he wanted to change things why not step up before this. And I do believe that every commissioner in new york state is eligible for benefits.
John Kerrigan December 10, 2013 at 01:24 PM
The issue is that once a person decides to run for public office they forget where they came from and or why the are doing it. This all stems from Carls daughter getting forced to resign but got a job and a free certification out of it. If the department meant anything to her or him they would be more than happy to respond to any number of calls day or night and make more than their required quotas
DION GEORGES December 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Just want to understand this. A person pays to get into a fair, a security guard who is working tells them to move along. Then the guard who has no legal right pushes the person by grabbing his neck. Then the person pushes back. Then everyone is out looking for the person with the red shirt on . The boy gets chased by the fire dept. who then wants to gain entry into a private home. One of these people (Magas) is a NYPO, not a nassau county PO. He then brings the security guard to the home. He then denies that he was on or at the property to the commissioners during a closed door session, then alters, aka tells-the truth and apologizes. The dept. founds no wrong doing with this. Everything is wrong with this starting with the security guard pushing someone to the Assistant Chiefs actions on all fronts. I would like to think a Fire Dept. wouldn't need a policy on to police or not to police , I would hope a NYPO would know better then chasing a kid and trying to get entrance to a private home, and also bringing the security guard to the home( who knows how this person would react to this boy) when he is acting as a fire officer or a police person for that matter. Polices need to be reviewed, rules need to be put in place. Pushing shouldn't become a crazy chasing situation and police called in to search someone, fire fighters trying to get into a home. Things are out of hand. Everyone would lives here needs to examine this story and see it for what was and more importantly what it became. I am worried for the people that live in NHP on how these situations are handled and carried out. A mother shouldn't have to worry about people in power trying to enter her home to search for her son when someone was pushed, especially when that person was pushed 1st.
myvoice December 10, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Sad day for NHP if Carl Wood should win ...
Prentice December 10, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I am so happy it's snowed today or I would not have had the opportunity to read all these comments. I do not live in your district and after reading all the comments and deleted comments I must say I am very thankful that I do not. My opinion is that the Garden City Park fire district has more problems than just the article above And hotheaded Chiefs. after reading all the comments It is my opinion that this fire district is full of liars corruption power struggles disrespect no conformity No stability No civility and does not care about their fellow fireman or tax payers. It is my hope for your district that who was ever writing these comments is a teenager because if you are grown adults you are a disgrace to your fire department. Again I am not in your district but if I was I would vote for the new guy as Commissioner if that meant cleaning up your fire district. You are all a disgrace to your fire district and if I did live there I would fight to have you All removed. One more thing I am a business owner and I pay a fortune monthly for myself and my family I think that was ingenious of the employer to become commissioner and then get his employee to be a commissioner to have the tax payers pay for his health care I cannot even imagine having that extra money per year. Do I think that was not planned of course it was planned it was a very smart plan I don't think it's fair but it was a smart plan. A conflict of interest yes but beats going on Obamacare . Good luck to all you Garden City Park people because if these are the fire people representing you you need it and to the new guy I hope you win clean up the place
myvoice December 10, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Why the story about Mike Magas - When we should be worrying about who wins the election today - Why - Because the election has been put in the back seat to discuss this publicly & try to humiliate Mike. Dawn Ward does like the behavior of Mike Magas at a fair? So what ? If her story had any truth then why has she not pursued this directly to the police department? Press her charges against him & be done with it .... Go to court & let a judge rule ... Or maybe she has & they told you that she has no case !! Or is it that her attorney fees are being paid for the GCP water District? Yeah I think so !! A favor her friend & the other bogus Water Commissioner Augie Carnevale will take care of for her . Why is there a Carl Wood sign on the Ward's front lawn someone asked? It's because you do support him. After all he works for her brother in law in the Port Authority ? Carl Wood is not an suitable person for Commissioners. What is his background someone else asked? That's a tricky question- maybe one day we will find out. Hope it's not at the extent of the citizens living in the district he hopes to re-resent.
myvoice December 10, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Prentice - Thank you for writing ! It is very sad that the people in office /wanting to be in office have no ethics. They will sell themselves to the devil. They are as corrupt as ever before !!
Patricia LaPorta December 10, 2013 at 04:29 PM
It seems there are many questions in many fire districts. This is why my husband Vincent LaPorta, who is not a fireman, is running for Fire Commissioner of New Hyde Park against the father-in-law of one of the current Board Members. We need an outside set of eyes and ears in the firehouses.
Tim Nacewicz December 10, 2013 at 05:46 PM
People should act like adults and use your real name to make posts. Hiding behind a screen name shows no character
Tim Nacewicz December 10, 2013 at 09:12 PM
318-120 borchers in gcp
myvoice December 11, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Woke up this morning & heard the great news !! Woods lost the race... A race he never belonged running for ! There should be a policy to keep these uneducated, lazy, untrained, inexperienced men out of these races for the future. Stop wasting the public's time with their nonsense. With a number of 318 votes for Borchers, the public surely made their voice heard.
Nick Tursi December 11, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Ok MR Unknown, Stop trying to make yourself seem intelligent. No body uses propper grammer when trying to type on their phones. Im sorry i dont proof read everything i post. Frankly i don't really care what you think of me. It doesnt change what im stating. And yes, i know i'm keeping all my "I's" lowercase. Do you have a problem with that? If you wanna look deep into words being used, then fine. Technically you said the word "probably", therefore you are ASSUMING. You can tell 1,000 truths and 1 lie, so why can't it be the other way around?? So how do we know what you say is true, is really true. Did i lose you at all there? try to keep up with me. And you better bet your bottom dollar that I'll be at that meeting. Maybe we can officially meet and you can teach me proper grammer. But as of right now, stop hiding behind you phone/computer screen and say who you are you coward. -Sincerely, Nicholas W. Tursi =)
Prentice December 11, 2013 at 06:27 PM
As I mentioned yesterday I'm not in your district but found these comments disgusting infantile and many other adjectives I choose not to use, I am commenting again because of a comment above regarding your chief lying on his NYPD application, while I originally overlooked that as part of your pissing war comments, you got my attention today , if I disclose my job you will understand. Mr Unknown can you please elaborate more so this matter can be looked into by the proper authorities and not a comment page . I have forwarded your insinuations this afternoon in re of your chiefs possible misrepresentation on his NYPD application . You all should have kept this in house because on account of my position I have no choice to investigate this matter , there could have been many applicants passes over which is not tolerated. It's interesting to this chief , his friends may have just turned out to be his greatest enemies.
Nick Loizzo December 11, 2013 at 07:12 PM
It would appear that Dawn Ward seems to know a lot of lawyers. I hope they all come to the board meeting. She may need them....
S Anthony December 11, 2013 at 07:16 PM
This is a perfect example of what is wrong with our society. Instead of focusing on the fact that a 19 year old man violently assaulted a security guard at a carnival intended for family enjoyment, we would rather scrutinize a person who at the request of a law enforcement agency rendered assistance in an investigation. Take out the fact that this said individual is a Law Enforcement Official or a Fire Official and just look at him as being a human. Tell me that if a Police Officer approached you and asked for help you would just turn your back and walk away. And for those of you that can only seem to think through laws, policies, or procedures…What laws were broken, what policies or procedures not abided by? And yes he is an Assistant Chief of the Garden City Park Fire Department and also happens to be a Police Officer, both occupations which require you to take an oath to protect our communities – were his actions not just that? It is disconcerting to see what this has come to. Everyone will continue to have their own opinions, just ask yourself – what is this really about?
Prentice December 11, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Mr. Lozzio , I do not live in your district and like I mentioned conflict of interest it would be a conflict of interest if I knew the Ward family, you all Have posted all information that anyone involved with the NYPD would need. the New York City Police Department takes false applications very seriously. This will be my last post because of again a conflict of interest that will evolve regarding the situation, When this does come to fruation you will all know my real name and what I do and see that your insinuations that I am working for whoever are wrong And misguided. Since all IP addresses and names can be subpoenaed I advise you all to shut this down
Nick Loizzo December 11, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Prentice if you were anyone of importance to the New York City Police Department you wouldn’t have even mentioned it…and I hope you, in whatever position of power you so claim to have, take false impersonations and false accusations just as serious as false applications.
Nick Loizzo December 11, 2013 at 09:22 PM
A subpoena will not be needed for a IP address mr business owner. I used my real name. Feel free to use a phone book.
myvoice December 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Prentice- This a blog site. We are writing our thoughts & concerns.... That still our 1st Amendment Right?... What actions would you have in mind in taking? Interesting comment that you make .... We dare you to come clean & expose your true self... Now your quite ? Where is your business in NHP/GCP as you stated in an early comment? Your work does allow you to work on a snowy day that your able to blog...Your probably just as useless as Carl Wood!! You also voiced your concern that Mrs. Ward would get treated better if there was a break up in the current Commissioners'. That they are the ones who are tainted? Really ?? I guess that is the reason Ward was a supporter of Wood's on the election ... How did Ward's letter get here onto the Patch's website? That letter was written to 3 people .. Did one of them send it in ? Who is feeding this crap to the newspapers? Is it Mrs. Ward herself ? Or is it her partner in crime current Water Commissioner Augie Canavale ? Why is Ward using the GCP Commissioners' to pursue her case against Mages. Whose paying the legal bills - NHP/GCP tax payers? Why has she not used her own attorney & file charges against him? Why has there been NO charges ever filed against Mages if her sons attack was a severe as she has written in her letter? Because this is all an attack on Mages, and nothing more. Someone is trying to blemish is reputation & character. My only wish is that one day this someone will be brought into the spot light for all to see!
Matt George December 12, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Its funny how we live in a society where instead of figuring out and pursuing what went wrong in the whole situation, people are looking to blame a fire assistant chief who also happens to be an NYPD police officer for interfering in a police investigation when in reality both police department and fire department work together. Yes, the roles are different but at the end of the day they work together. If the story was a little different and the teenager was hurt by the security guard and the public found out that an off duty NYPD officer and a assistant fire chief was present and did nothing, Im sure there would be a big uproar about how he did nothing to help. With that in mind, going back to the situation at hand, I'm sure with the police training and experience he has, he knows the law and would not force entry into a private home. To make a big story out of nothing, the victim is really dragging their story out with what i feel are secret intentions. If this was such a dramatic experience the victim and his mother would of pressed charges that same night instead of dragging this story out to where it is now. There is in some way a connection here to something else and a lot of interesting coincidences. Hopefully the right people will put these connections together and see who is trying to benefit from this situation. Coincidences aren't always just coincidences. At the end of the day, its just sad to see what the world is coming to and its interesting to see as humans how we interact with each other and how far we would go to accomplish our secret agendas. The truth always will come out the dark some way, some how.
Joe Mahoney December 24, 2013 at 08:00 AM
I'd want a guy like Magas nearby during a crime/fire anytime.

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