The headquarters of Kravet Inc. in Bethpage on Feb. 19,...

The headquarters of Kravet Inc. in Bethpage on Feb. 19, 2020. Credit: Randee Daddona

Daily Point

No decision on tax break for Kravet

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency unanimously decided to put off the application of furniture designer Kravet Inc. The firm wanted tax breaks on the Woodbury facility it hopes to move to but IDA board members said Thursday there were too many questions left unanswered.

The decision to table the vote came after weeks of questions about the company’s application, which garnered attention and support from Town of Oyster Bay officials and development advocates, even as questions swirled from the IDA board itself.

IDA Chairman Richard Kessel peppered Kravet chief executive Cary Kravet and attorney Eric Rubenstein with questions about where the company might go if it didn’t get the tax breaks, and whether the firm would commit — in writing — to job creation in the years to come.

Other board members, too, pushed Kravet, particularly on the jobs issue.

"Right now, there’s a lot of suffering," said board member Amy Flores. "We want to stress the importance of job creation."

Kravet told the board that the company hoped to increase its payrolls by about 20% "by the next couple of years." That would amount to an increase of about 30 jobs, bringing the company’s total employment to about 200. Kessel asked whether the company would make a guarantee in writing, and Kravet said he was "certainly open to it."

But for other IDA members, the potential for jobs wasn’t enough. Board member Christopher Fusco focused on the renovation plans Kravet has for its new headquarters, noting that construction would bring additional jobs to the mix. In an effort likely meant to find out whether workers would be unionized, Fusco asked whether the company or its contractors who would renovate its new building had reached out to the Nassau Suffolk Building Trades Council.

Kravet didn’t know.

But later in the meeting, Matthew Aracich, who heads the council, said he hadn’t heard from anyone at Kravet.

Attorney Rubenstein blamed a Newsday editorial for some of the attention and the stream of questions, calling it a "scurrilous kind of editorializing," and said the company’s new headquarters was "exactly the type of project" the IDA should be helping.

The board also briefly discussed Kravet’s current headquarters, a Bethpage building that the company is selling to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. IDA board member Anthony Simon, who also heads the Long Island Rail Road’s largest union, said he believed the debate over the circumstances of the building’s sale was a "miscommunication."

Kravet’s representatives were seeking a quick decision, noting that they were supposed to close on their new property by Dec. 4.

But the IDA board said the company will have to wait a bit longer.

"We obviously need more information. We need to answer some questions and I think we really need to zero in on the jobs issue," Kessel said.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Nassau cop contract negotiations reshuffle alliances

Thanksgiving could come a few days early for members of Nassau County’s Superior Officers Association. But for County Executive Laura Curran, there are no guarantees.

The SOA reached an agreement on a new 8½-year contract with Curran that was ratified by members in September. It follows along the lines of the detectives’ contract. But the detectives’ deal was approved by the county legislature in December 2019, three months before COVID-19 crushed sales tax receipts and five months before George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

To read the full story, click here.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Thanksgiving 2020

Andy Marlette

Andy Marlette

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Final Point

So many rallies, so little time

It’s probably not fair to say every activist opposing mandated COVID-19 precautions and opposing school vaccination requirements also supports the reelection hopes of President Donald Trump, but the Venn diagram of the three groups could well be just one circle.

And that means the folks on Long Island who care about these issues enough to rally for them are going to have a tough decision to make Saturday morning.

Long Beach will be the scene of a meetup for the "Trump Caravan and March" which will drive through Long Beach and also walk the boardwalk.

But that’s not the only option.

A "Freedom Rally" is planned outside the county’s H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge.

In their social media posts about the event, organizers have promised "Representatives from the GOP, Voices for Seniors, legal experts, small business owners, ‘Back the Blue’ leaders, constitutionalists, local Patriot groups, freedom fighters, and more."

"Celebrate freedom with us and tell the governor ‘Thanksgiving isn’t canceled’, " the post reads.

Both events are featured on Setauket Patriots social media pages.

And for those busy on Saturday but still want to protest, there is a Sunday option.

There will be a "MAGA-GRAS IX: Liberty and Thanksgiving for All," starting in Seaford. Participants will then caravan to Ronkonkoma as part of a food drive and are asked to bring a turkey or nonperishable food items to contribute.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Rememberance Point

Revisiting the work of Les Payne

The late Newsday columnist and editor Les Payne was honored with one of American literature’s biggest prizes this week, winning the National Book Award for nonfiction for "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X." Payne, who died in 2018, had probed the depths of racism on Long Island and around the world for decades in columns that are just as relevant in 2020 as ever.

Click here to see a selection of Payne’s columns on race.

Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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