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Judge gives extension for Lizza family firm to vacate town property

Vehicles sit on the site at 200 Winding

Vehicles sit on the site at 200 Winding Road which is part of the Oyster Bay Town landfill where Carlo Lizza Paving occupied the property on Monday, Feb. 4 in Old Bethpage. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau County judge on Monday gave a company controlled by the Lizza family until March 4 to vacate Oyster Bay town-owned property.

The company, M-pire Land Rental, had agreed to remove its equipment from town property at 200 Winding Rd. in Old Bethpage by Dec. 31, but on Monday large trucks and heavy construction equipment remained at the property, though some had been removed over the past month. 

Oyster Bay's outside legal counsel, Jaime Ezrattyof Williston Park-based Horing Welikson & Rosen, P.C. asked District Judge Scott Fairgrieve, in landlord-tenant court, to grant an immediate order of possession so the town could reclaim the property. M-pire attorney Michael Finkelstein of Garden City said thousands of pieces equipment were “strewn over” the site and asked for more time to move everything.

Fairgrieve asked Ezratty if Oyster Bay was "willing to pay to get rid of this [equipment] at taxpayer expense" if the town took possession before the equipment was removed.

Ezratty said the costs should be borne by the company. Finkelstein asked for another month to vacate. 

"This is a big clean up," Fairgrieve said, and gave the town a judgment of possession dated March 4 “to allow the removal of all debris." 

Finkelstein said after the hearing, "God willing, we'll be out March 4th and it will be done," and declined to answer additional questions. 

Ezratty said the judgment preserved the town's right to pursue additional civil actions against the company. An agreement between the town and the company in October said the M-pire would "remediate all environmental conditions that tenant caused or created." 

Ezratty was hired without a resolution by the Town Board. Town Attorney Joseph Nocella said in an emailed statement Monday that his office will "be seeking ratification of their retention at the next board meeting."

The president of M-pire Land Rental is Carolyn Lizza, the daughter of Elia Lizza, chief executive of Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving Inc. Elia Lizza was indicted in 2017 with his wife, Marisa, on state charges of conspiracy, bribery, defrauding the government and rewarding official misconduct related to an alleged scheme involving former Oyster Bay officials. They have pleaded not guilty.

After the Lizzas' indictments, Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced actions to “clean house,” including a ban on Carlo Lizza & Sons from bidding on and performing work for the town. “Additionally, the town will terminate a lease that the company currently holds for use of town property,” Saladino said, according to a transcript of the July 11, 2017, town board meeting.

 Town documents state that M-pire occupied the property under contracts with Carlo Lizza & Sons but those contracts expired in 2012 and 2016. Elia Lizza's attorney John Carman said last year the Lizzas occupied the land under a month-to-month lease. It is unclear whether the Lizzas had a written agreement allowing their companies to occupy the land.

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