July 17, 2009

Inspector General Raids Drug Den at Empire State Plaza Garage

Inspector General Raids Drug Den at Empire State Plaza Garage
One Charged; Supervisor Suspended

A state janitor was arrested and his boss suspended this week amid allegations that they created a hidden party lounge at an Empire State Plaza garage to sell drugs, smoke pot and sleep for hours during work shifts.

Louis Marciano, an Office of General Services (OGS) supervisor in charge of a cleaning crew at the East Parking Garage at Madison Avenue and Eagle Street, and Gary Pivoda, a cleaner, gave co-workers and others special access to a locked room outfitted with couches, TV and scales to weigh marijuana, officials said. The Inspector General and New York State Police are continuing the investigation and additional charges may be pending.

“Public employees are paid to work for the good of New York,” Inspector General Joseph Fisch said. “Not only is it outrageous to engage in criminal activities, but in addition to exploit the cover of state facilities as a sanctuary for their conduct.”

“OGS will not tolerate this kind of activity by its employees,” said Commissioner John C. Egan. “We will continue to report these activities to the authorities to ensure that our employees respect the law and realize that they work for the taxpayers of the state.”

Investigators said Marciano and Pivoda routinely clocked in at 4 p.m., got high, then slept while other janitors cleaned Pivoda’s section of the East Garage at Madison Avenue and Eagle Street. Pivoda allegedly made evening drug deliveries in his OGS truck to electricians, plumbers and other state employees. Two garage co-workers were arrested in December for smoking pot at work. New York State Police dismantled the “man cave” in a late-night raid Tuesday.

Pivoda, 48, of Latham, a state employee since 2000 earning $29,600 a year, was charged with marijuana possession and criminal use of drug paraphernalia for having a scale in the den. Marciano, 50, of Rensselaer, is a 31-year state employee earning $37,470 a year.

Both men were suspended by OGS without pay.