A scheduled hearing for a father-son duo of New Hyde Park Volunteer Firefighters has been continued to the night of Tuesday, January 8 due to the appearance of an over-capacity crowd.
Firefighters Michael Dolan and his son Michael Dolan Jr., had been brought up on departmental charges and arrested by police in July 2012 for allegedly stealing 65 smoke detectors from the New Hyde Park Fire Department. The criminal charges are separate from departmental charges.
In October 2012 the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office dropped the grand larceny charges, resulting in the case against them being dismissed without a trial.
According to the bylaws of the fire department, any member brought up on charges within the department has the right to a hearing before the board of fire commissioners. All hearings before the board are open to the public and it was the large crowd present that led to the postponement Monday night.
The room scheduled to hold the hearing could only accommodate 18 people seated, with no standing room available. A crowd of at least 30 showed up, most of whom were in support of the Dolans, though none were willing to comment at the time.
Hearing the initial news that only 18 people would be able to sit-in on the meeting was met with much dismay from the crowd.
Throughout the room it was agreed upon that all present should be able to witness the hearing, but expressed its disdain that the full hearing would not be until Tuesday night.
Only one witness was allowed to testify: John Murray, the Chief Instructor at the Nassau County Fire Museum and whom also serves on its board of directors.
Murray, a witness for the prosecution, was questioned regarding the origins of the smoke detectors, testifying that the elder Dolan approached him, originally requesting 200. Murray said that Dolan originally brought a pamphlet and said the smoke detectors were for a program to give them to seniors in the neighborhood. Murray gave him 150, of which 36 he later returned.
Defense attorney Michael T. Cornacchia of Manhasset, the infamous defender in the rape case against several Duke lacrosse players, inquired about a letter Murray wrote regarding his giving Mr. Dolan the smoke detectors.
On Tuesday night the hearing will be held in a larger room in the firehouse in order to accommodate the public.
Upon leaving, a member of the Dolan family thanked everyone for showing up in support.