Nassau will provide the politically connected operator of its restaurant at Eisenhower Park with a $664,000 credit for renovations, boosting the county's commitment to the project to $1.2 million.
The county legislature's GOP-controlled Rules Committee, in a 4-3 party line vote Monday, amended the county's lease with Anthony Capetola's Carltun on the Park Ltd.
The measure reduces the amount Capetola must pay Nassau in rent on the property to compensate for the cost of a new generator and slate pavement work. Nassau had awarded Capetola another $550,000 credit for the project in 2013.
The legislative action stemmed from a 2013 legal settlement in which Nassau agreed to pay for the generator after many electrical failures at The Carltun, which Capetola has run since 1995. The county says the initial $550,000 wasn't enough to cover the generator.
"I'm a good bet to do things right and the county is getting a good value using me for these things," Capetola said Tuesday. He said he has provided a total of $50 million in rent, fees and sales tax. "They're getting a good deal," he said.
Capetola, a Williston Park attorney and former Oyster Bay Town zoning board member, has given more than $125,000 to the Nassau Republican Committee since 2007, and contributed $8,000 to GOP County Executive Edward Mangano last year, state records show.
He is representing GOP Oyster Bay Town planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito in a federal tax evasion case. Ippolito has pleaded not guilty.
Capetola's lease to run The Carltun and its wine/cigar bars requires annual rent payments to Nassau of about $371,000, plus 18.5 percent of gross receipts.
The Mangano administration agreed to the initial $550,000 rent offset in settling a lawsuit Capetola had filed against the county, former County Comptroller Howard Weitzman and former County Executive Thomas Suozzi, both Democrats. Weitzman and Suozzi were both defeated in 2009.
A Weitzman audit had accused Capetola of underreporting Carltun revenue and underpaying rent, while Capetola said the county was liable for the electrical failures. The settlement required Capetola to pay Nassau $381,465 and required Nassau to resolve the repeated electrical issues by giving him the $550,000 offset.
The new amendment blames the location of Carltun's electrical wiring for increasing the cost of installing the generator by $400,000. The measure also gives Capetola a $264,000 rent discount for slate work between the restaurant and the adjoining public golf course.
Some Democratic lawmakers questioned the need for the slate and criticized the administration for not publicly bidding the electrical generator work.