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Riverhead Town Board could vote next week on long-delayed $40M EPCAL deal

An ethics probe involving Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi

An ethics probe involving Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio has delayed a vote on the $40 million EPCAL deal. Credit: Ed Betz

Officials said the Riverhead Town Board will decide Thursday on a date to vote on the proposed $40 million deal for the Enterprise Park at Calverton now that the town's board of ethics ruled that Councilwoman Jodi Giglio  did not violate ethics procedures, clearing the way for her to vote on the deal.

Giglio said that she was notified late Monday that the ethics board ruled in her favor regarding a complaint filed in April by The Coalition Against EPCAL Housing. The civic group wanted Giglio to recuse herself from proceedings in the deal after the councilwoman disclosed that in March she met privately in Manhattan with representatives from Calverton Aviation and Technology to ask questions about the deal and their proposal.

A vote on the EPCAL deal has been delayed pending the ethics board ruling. 

Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith  said Wednesday that the board will set a date to vote on the deal at its work session Thursday. 

“I have to respect the decision that [the ethics board] made," Jens-Smith said. "I am a little disappointed that it took them so long to come to that decision, but at this point we’ll look to schedule it for a vote.”

Giglio said she and her family felt “vindicated” by the ruling.

“While I am not surprised, I am pleased with the outcome,” she said. “As a Riverhead councilwoman for almost 10 years, I will continue to find common-sense solutions — including traveling into Manhattan on my own dime — to help get the best deal at EPCAL for Riverhead families.” 

Calverton Aviation and Technology, a venture group formed between Calverton-based Luminati Aerospace and majority partner Triple Five Group, is proposing converting more than 1,600 acres of the EPCAL property into space suitable to expand operations for Luminati.

“We are pleased with the Board of Ethics ruling and are hopeful that the Town Board will find CAT [Calverton Aviation and Technology] qualified and eligible,” Stuart Bienenstock, director of business development for Triple Five Group, said Wednesday in a statement. 

Opponents of the deal also disagreed with the board's ruling on Giglio.

“The ethics [board] is to monitor bad behavior, and what they have done by their ruling has basically lowered the bar and set an example and precedent for future behavior and bad behavior,” said Rex Farr, president of The Coalition Against EPCAL Housing. 

Though Councilwoman Catherine Kent  said she was “disappointed at the ethics call," she said she would like to vote on the deal after months of delay.

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