Two discount gas stations at the Poospatuck reservation in Mastic that are locked in a land dispute were closed this weekend after the Unkechaug tribal council tried to blockade one and the other was beset by vandalism, according to people affiliated with both.
Both gas stations, Montauk Native Gas and the more recently opened Fast Gas, were back in operation by Monday evening. A lawyer for Fast Gas was said to be in court seeking to overturn a tribal council decision to blockade that gas station related to a recent tribal vote to shutter the facility. A state Supreme Court judge last month lifted a temporary restraining order that previously prevented the station from opening.
The owner of Fast Gas and its Smokes R Us convenience shop, Danielle Treadwell, is locked in a land dispute with Andre Hardy, owner of the Montauk Native Gas next door. Both offer the cheapest gasoline on Long Island, below $2.18 per gallon, chiefly because of the lack of state sales tax.
The Unkechaug Nation, located on the Poospatuck reservation in Mastic, has previously filed suit in state court against Danielle Treadwell, disputing her claim to the land upon which the Fast Gas station sits and declaring its underground tanks unsafe. Linda Margolin, her lawyer, denies the safety claim and cited a judge’s ruling in saying the station is safe to operate.
On Saturday, according to people close to both sides in the dispute, tribal workers installed concrete blocks in front of Fast Gas in an attempt to close it. Fast Gas workers shifted those concrete blocks to the side of the entrance, where they sat Monday morning.
Some time later, an electrical wire that provided power to the gas tanks at Montauk Native Gas were severed, and the owners of Montauk Native Gas called police to report the vandalism.
A Suffolk Police spokeswoman confirmed officers had been called to the reservation Saturday.
"A report was filed on Saturday that electrical wires were cut at Montauk Native Gas Station at approximately 10:30 a.m.," the spokeswoman said. "Seventh Precinct Crime Section officers are investigating. No arrests have been made."
The severed wire also affected pump operations at Fast Gas, whose pumps were also not working on Monday.
A message left with Unkechaug Nation chief Harry Wallace was not returned, and officials with the tribal council could not be reached.