A former state legislative aide is forming a coalition to push for construction of the long-stalled Trump on the Ocean catering facility at Jones Beach.
With the restaurant nothing more than a hole in the ground five years after the state signed a lease with Trump, Rafe Lieber, who was chief of staff for former state Sen. Craig Johnson, has created the Alliance to Revitalize Jones Beach.
The Plainview resident, who works for a Carle Place title insurance company, said that with residents rejecting the use of taxpayer dollars to build a new Nassau Coliseum, there is a need to show economic growth is possible in the county. “We're stagnant and we need to move ahead,“ Lieber said.
With the Jones Beach project stalled by lawsuits and appeals by Trump and the state over his attempt to get permits to build a structure with a basement in a flood zone, Lieber said he will seek support from civic and other organizations to push the parties to settle the dispute. He is planning a rally at the beach.
Lieber and the Trump Organization say they have had no contact although they use the same public relations firm. Ron Lieberman, vice president for special projects for the Trump Organization, said the company welcomes Lieber's initiative. He said the company has been trying to settle the case with state officials. “We want to get this done,“ he said.
Sally Drake, spokeswoman for the state Parks Department, said “there was an approved design in place as early as 2008, but instead of proceeding, the Trump Organization initiated three lawsuits.“
In June, Trump lost his final appeal to get $500 million in damages from the state for the delays. The other two cases are pending.