Riverhead Town officials will consider getting an outside legal opinion that may lead them to end a $40 million land sale with Calverton Aviation and Technology at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
The move comes after the board learned last week that Calverton-based aviation firm Luminati Aerospace LLC was sued by Hexcel Corp., a Stamford, Connecticut-based advanced composites company, after Luminati defaulted on several conditions of a promissory note for a $10 million loan from Hexcel.
Other issues that Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said led to seeking a legal counsel review included Luminati facing eviction from the EPCAL site that the company leases for failing to pay rent to Laoudis of Calverton LLC, the property landlord.
“There was a good amount of concern right now … because a lot of this we didn’t know about,” Riverhead Town Councilman Tim Hubbard said after Tuesday's regular board meeting in which the issue was discussed.
A special board meeting is to be held next Thursday to vote on whether to seek legal counsel to review the land sale contract.
The board last year held hearings to determine whether Calverton Aviation and Technology — a joint venture between Luminati and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based developer Triple Five Group — was qualified to move forward with the proposal to purchase more than 1,600 acres of land at the EPCAL site to expand Luminati’s operations. The hearings "may very well have had a different outcome" based on the new information, Hubbard said.
If the resolution to seek outside counsel is approved, the deal would be re-examined, Jens-Smith said Tuesday after the meeting.
“I think we really have to take a look at the contract to see that what is in there is being met and just wait for that advice," she said. "That’s the whole reason that we’re seeking outside counsel, so we can get some clear answers to be able to look at the contract."
Amy Herbold, director of development for Triple Five, said in a statement Wednesday that Calverton Aviation and Technology is "dedicated to fulfilling all commitments under the contract, including one million square feet of development and $1 million of investment to improve the existing runways, bringing much needed jobs and investment to this long dormant site."
The town board last week hired the Central Islip law firm Sinnreich, Kosakoff & Messina to seek money Luminati owed the town for outstanding false alarm fees and back taxes on a runway use agreement at the EPCAL site.
Residents at Tuesday's meeting said they supported the board’s decision. Rex Farr of the Coalition Against EPCAL Housing, urged the board to cancel the deal.
“Time and again," Farr said, "we have seen Luminati Aerospace’s inability to be a trusted partner with the town in overseeing over 1,600 acres of precious Pine Barrens land.”