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Oyster Bay ordered to pay $178G in back rent for storage

Oyster Bay has been ordered to pay the

Oyster Bay has been ordered to pay the owner of a storage space in Woodbury $178,408 for unpaid rent. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

A state judge has ordered the Town of Oyster Bay to pay $178,408 to the owner of a Woodbury storage space for unpaid rent.

Judge Randy Sue Marber on Jan. 19 granted landlord Turnwood Associates LLC, summary judgment to collect rent owed on the first five months of 2017 plus legal fees in an amount to be determined at a future hearing.

The Woodbury-based property owner’s attorney, Ronald J. Rosenberg, a partner at Garden City-based Rosenberg Calica & Birney LLP, said Monday the case was about a tenant’s obligations.

“You sign a lease, you obligate yourself to pay the rent for the period of time you sign the lease for and, in this case, the lease runs through April of 2020,” Rosenberg said.

The town used the 11,758 square feet of space, known informally as “The Cave,” for town record archives that have since been moved to another location.

The town board approved the lease in 2009 and modified it in 2011, but last year stopped paying rent. Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced in July he was saving the town $400,000 by eliminating leased space, which spokesman Brian Nevin later said referred to the Woodbury storage space.

“The prior administration’s lease of this facility continues to be investigated by the town attorney as it burdens taxpayers with greater cost than benefit,” Nevin said in an email Monday.

Rosenberg said no evidence has been presented that there was anything wrong with the lease and allegations to the contrary are “outlandish.”

Marber noted in her decision in New York State Supreme Court in Mineola that the town did not file any opposition to Turnwood’s motion for summary judgment “despite having multiple opportunities to do so.”

Rosenberg said his client will pursue the full $1.4 million he said is owed on the lease and plans to file another lawsuit against Oyster Bay this week for $268,435 for rent owed for June through December of 2017.

“It’s unfortunate for my client and the people of Oyster Bay . . . that we have to go through lawsuits instead of them just paying,” Rosenberg said.

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