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Riverhead pol questioning whether venture group can still afford EPCAL's $40M price tag 

A May 2011 aerial view of the site

A May 2011 aerial view of the site of the former grumman airport at Calverton. Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

Concerns about the economic viability of the venture group involved in the pending $40 million land sale of the Enterprise Park at Calverton have resurfaced following media reports that a subsidiary of the group lost millions of dollars last year in a mall project in New Jersey.

Representatives of venture group Calverton Aviation and Technology LLC will meet Thursday with the Riverhead Town Board to discuss how financially capable they are of carrying out their plans for the Calverton property.

"This is a very important property to the town of Riverhead, and I think we need to get them in and talk to them and find out if they have the financial wherewithal to move forward with this project," said Councilwoman Catherine Kent.

Kent expressed concern about local media reports that a subsidiary of Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Group, one of the venture group’s partners along with aviation company Luminati Aerospace LLC, lost more than $60 million in 2020 on its American Dream megamall project in New Jersey.

According to those reports, based on financial documents made public in May from Meadowlands Joint Venture LLC, a subsidiary of Triple Five Group, reported $41,587,272 in revenue from operations related to the partially-opened East Rutherford, New Jersey mall, yet also reported $105,933,945 in project expenses. The two combined for a net loss of $64,346,673.

Kent told Newsday that the reports warranted concern regarding the venture group’s ability to proceed with its plans to convert the EPCAL property into space to expand Luminati’s aerospace operations.

Christopher Kent, an attorney with Uniondale law firm Farrell Fritz PC, which is representing Calverton Aviation and Technology, told Newsday that Triple Five Group is made up of hundreds of such subsidiaries. The financial difficulties of one subsidiary would not affect the venture group’s plans for EPCAL, said Kent, the councilwoman’s ex-husband.

"Their interest in Calverton Aviation and Technology is separate from any of their other entities that they own and control," Christopher Kent said. "They’re completely separate and independent entities, financially and organizationally."

He said representatives will provide the town board proof of funds that they have the balance of the land purchase price and all related costs due at closing.

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said town officials will also review financial documents for the venture group one final time when the town gets closer to finalizing the land sale.

"Financials are very fluid documents, and what may be presented to the town on June 10 may change if and when we close," Aguiar said.

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