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Oyster Bay, company reach agreement to remove equipment from town site

The firm, M-pire Land Rental, is headed by the daughter of a contractor who was indicted last year on state charges of conspiracy, bribery, defrauding the government and rewarding official misconduct.

The site at 200 Winding Road in Old

The site at 200 Winding Road in Old Bethpage in November. M-pire Land Rental Corp. has agreed to vacate the property, owned by the Town of Oyster Bay. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Oyster Bay and a company headed by the daughter of an indicted contractor have reached an agreement to remove the firm's trucks and heavy equipment from town-owned property by the end of the month.

The town board approved the agreement Oct. 30. The president of M-pire Land Rental is Carolyn Lizza, the daughter of Elia Lizza, chief executive of Carlo Lizza & Sons Inc.

Elia Lizza was indicted last year with his wife, Marisa, on state charges of conspiracy, bribery, defrauding the government and rewarding official misconduct. The charges are an outgrowth of an alleged scheme with the late Oyster Bay planning commissioner Frederick Ippolito, former Town Supervisor John Venditto and others to sell property at 50 Engel St. in Hicksville to the town and obtain zoning approval for a senior housing project. They have pleaded not guilty.

M-pire has occupied 1.8 acres of town property at the Old Bethpage landfill under two contracts with Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving Inc., according to the agreement to vacate. Carolyn Lizza signed the agreement.

“The Lizza Family and the town of Oyster Bay have amicably reached an agreement to end the Lizza’s tenancy of the TOB [Town of Oyster Bay] rental property at the end of the year,” John F. Carman, attorney for Elia Lizza, said in an email in response to questions about the agreement to vacate.

Carlo Lizza & Sons, a paving company, had millions of dollars of roadwork contracts with Oyster Bay and Nassau County.

Carolyn Lizza, 26, declined to answer questions about the company vacating the property.

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino has declined to answer questions about how M-pire Land Rental came to occupy town property,  saying Wednesday, "I cannot speculate on decisions or agreements made by the prior administration."  

After the Lizzas' indictments last year, 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.

Under the agreement approved at the Oct. 30 town board meeting, M-pire Land Rental is to leave by Dec. 31 and pay the town at least $24,524, including $18,306 in back rent and $6,218 for accrued utility costs.

The October agreement stated that M-pire Land Rental was occupying the property under two town contracts approved in 2009 and 2013, but made no mention of Carlo Lizza & Sons, which was the company actually awarded those contracts for road work on an as-needed basis. The first of those contracts expired in May 2012, before the town attorney's office said in a court filing this year that M-pire Land Rental had taken occupancy of the property. The second contract expired in June 2016.

Each contract had permitted Carlo Lizza & Sons to store “equipment and material to be utilized in the performance of work under this contract” on 0.9 acres of town property at 200 Winding Rd. in Old Bethpage.

Carman said M-pire Land Rental had been tenants at the site on a “month-to-month basis” since the closure of Carlo Lizza's asphalt plant in Hicksville.

“The town had agreed to a long-term lease of the property in partial consideration for the Lizza family surrendering the permits to operate the asphalt plants in Hicksville,” Carman said in an email, adding that the permits were surrendered but the lease agreement “was never finalized.”

Closing the Lizza asphalt plant at 50 Engel St. to spare residents from pollution was among the given reasons the town purchased the property in 2013. Earlier this year, the town sold that property.

Town spokesman Brian Nevin said in an email that M-pire Land Rental was a "holdover" from old town contracts with Carlo Lizza and said "no disclosures exist" that would describe the relationship between the two companies.

The town took its first legal steps to evict M-pire Land Rental in January, notifying the company that its use and occupancy of the property would be terminated, according to a filing in landlord tenant court in Nassau County First District in Hempstead. On June 4, the town began eviction proceedings.

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