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M-pire Land Rental misses deadline to remove equipment from town property

M-pire Land Rental had agreed to move vehicles

M-pire Land Rental had agreed to move vehicles and equipment from Oyster Bay Town property in Old Bethpage by noon on Dec. 31. Vehicles and equipment are seen at the site at 3 p.m. on Monday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Dozens of trucks and heavy construction equipment remained on Oyster Bay town-owned land Wednesday, two days after the deadline for the owner to vacate the property.

In October, the town board approved an agreement under which M-pire Land Rental would surrender the property at noon on Dec. 31, and was to have removed all vehicles, equipment and structures and to have remediated any “environmental conditions” caused by the tenancy.

"The company breached its termination agreement with the town," town spokesman Brian Nevin said in an email Wednesday.

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.

On Wednesday morning, equipment remained at 200 Winding Rd. in Old Bethpage and several vehicles moved in and out of the property. A worker at the site, who did not identify himself, said he was told to direct questions to the Town of Oyster Bay. Another worker at the site wore a shirt emblazoned with the logo "Carlo Lizza & Sons."

More than two dozen semi trucks were parked on the property Wednesday, including five with the name “Carlo Lizza & Sons” painted on the rigs’ doors. Most semi trucks were labeled “Repave Inc.” Carolyn Lizza’s LinkedIn page identifies her as the head of operations at Repave. 

John Carman, a lawyer for Elia Lizza, said in an email that the "logistics of this relocation effort are extremely difficult" and "under these circumstances, a modest extension of the time to complete the relocation is completely reasonable. The expectation is that the premises will be vacated in early February.”  

Nevin said in an email that "No extension was requested and the town learned of the company’s continued presence on the property this morning upon return from the holiday weekend.” Nevin said the "adversarial action" would result in further litigation "as the town will fully enforce its land rights and seek full restitution of rent and legal fees."

According to town documents, M-pire Land Rental occupied the property under contracts with Carlo Lizza & Sons but those contracts expired in 2012 and 2016. Carman said last year that the Lizzas had occupied the land under a month-to-month lease.

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.

Under the agreement approved at the Oct. 30 town board meeting, M-pire Land Rental was 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.

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