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Riverhead board to vote on hiring law firm for guidance on $40M EPCAL sale

Council members are split on the need for outside legal counsel, but their options include a Garden-City based firm and another with offices on Long Island and in Manhattan.

The Town of Riverhead is considering selling 1,600

The Town of Riverhead is considering selling 1,600 acres of land in the Enterprise Park at Calverton for $40 million to the Calverton Aviation and Technology venture group. Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The Riverhead Town Board will vote Wednesday on whether to hire one of two legal firms to advise members on the pending $40 million land sale of more than 1,600 acres at the Enterprise Park at Calverton to a venture group.

Officials at Town Hall announced Thursday that the vote would take place at 6 p.m. before the board's regular meeting, under the board’s role as the Community Development Agency. The motion to seek legal counsel was on the agenda Thursday during an executive session of the board.

Residents and some town officials have called for hiring special counsel after learning that Luminati Aerospace LLC — a partner with Canada-based developer Triple Five Group in the deal — was sued for defaulting on several conditions of a $10 million promissory note, and that Luminati failed to pay rent to the property landlord for the building the company occupied at the EPCAL site and was facing eviction.

The board will choose between Garden City-based firm Stagg, Terenzi, Confusione & Wabnik LLP and Lazer, Aptheker, Rosella & Yedid PC, which has offices in East Hampton, Manhattan and Melville.

Officials with venture group Calverton Aviation and Technology could not be reached for comment.

Some board members at  Thursday's work session were in favor of hiring counsel, but others argued that seeking further legal advice on the deal was unnecessary.

Councilman Jim Wooten questioned whether the town should spend money on lawyers when the venture group sent a letter Wednesday to Riverhead officials confirming they wished to proceed with the sale. “Is this an expense we want to take?” Wooten asked.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent said it was.

“I think it’s important to protect the town and have another set of eyes on this for us,” she said.

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