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DASNY Mismanagement Published inNewsday

DeMatteis Articles

Probe of Letter Sought

George E. Jordan

Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman said yesterday she asked federal
and prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into an altered letter
submitted to the city by a Long Island builder she alleges has ties to
organized crime.

    The letter, which was written last year by the New Jersey attorney
general's office, was submitted by the Leon DeMatteis Construction
Corp., to counter Holtzman's allegations of mob ties. Holtzman is
seeking to block a $67 million city contract with the firm to build a
jail on Rikers Island.

    Martin J. Steadman, spokesman for the DeMatteis organization, said a
former lawyer for the company changed the document without the knowledge
of DeMatteis officials.

    The letter purportedly detailed the findings of an investigation of
DeMatteis as part of his successful application for a New Jeresy casino
service license. But in the copy submitted to the city, DeMatteis' name
was substituted for the name of a man for whom the investigation "failed
to disclose any negative information."