Update: No vote on 5/16/18 on the sale of


1,600 acres of EPCAL land to Calverton


Aviation and Technology (CAT).





Dear RNPC Members and Friends,   
 

Turns out there was no vote taken on the EPCAL sale to CAT at the May 16th Town Board meeting, as we had feared.  Supervisor Jens-Smith stated that the Town Board is awaiting the decision from the Ethics Board on the complaint filed by CAEH on Jodi Giglio. The full complaint filed with the Ethics Board can be found below. Here is a related article from the News Review: http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2018/05/87141/ethics-board-questions-if-outside-counsel-is-needed-for-giglio-case/
 
We strongly believe that Jodi Giglio must recuse herself due to the appearance of impropriety created by her private meeting with the Ghermezians.  You can also sign the petition to have her recuse herself by going to: https://www.change.org/p/jodi-giglio-jodi-giglio-must-not-vote-on-the-epcal-contract
 
We urge all Town Board members to vote NO to CAT, due to the fact that they have not provided the required financial data and fully answered all questions presented to them, and that they lack the “integrity and responsibility” to be considered “qualified and eligible” to purchase our land.


You can call or email Town Board members with your comments and concerns.  Their e-mail addresses and phone numbers are listed below.  Send them a message to tell them you are opposed to this bad deal and will remember their vote on election day.

 
Laura Jens-Smith   supervisor@townofriverheadny.gov         631-727-3200  X 251
Tim Hubbard          hubbard@townofriverheadny.gov            631-727-3200  X 223
 Jodi Giglio               giglio@townofriverheadny.gov                  631-727-3200  X 225
 Jim Wooten             wooten@townofriverheadny.gov             631-727-3200  X 226
Catherine Kent       kent@townofriverheadny.gov                   631-727-3200  X 224


 

Here is some background:


The purchaser (CAT, owned by Triple Five, a private company of the Ghermezian family) has repeatedly refused to supply requested financial qualification information needed to establish qualified and eligible status. Failure to establish financial qualification has doomed past EPCAL proposals and should be reason to deny this purchase.
 
Serious questions have also been raised about the "integrity and responsibility" that are required of the purchaser to be found "qualified and eligible", based on their history in New Jersey, Nevada and Canada and their conduct in Riverhead.  (see links about campaign contributions and criminal charges below)
 
A Republican majority in the previous Board irresponsibly added 1000 acres that as recently as January 2017 were not included in the $40 million purchase price. It pushed through a deeply flawed contract written with Daniel Preston's Luminati Aerospace at its very last session in December. On May 1st a Republican majority on the current Board voted to cut off public comment --- only three days after the responses from the purchaser had been received.

 
Here are some related news articles for further information:


1.  http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2018/05/87106/guest-spot-future-of-epcal-hangs-in-the-balance/
 
 2.  WNYC, NJ Spotlight, and Bloomberg Businessweek documented very large political contributions by the Ghermezians l
inked to their takeover of a mammoth development project in "Mall Madness", a five-part series on the American Dream retail and entertainment complex under construction in the Meadowlands on the west side of the Hudson.
 
 "A review of campaign-finance documents since 2011, when Triple Five entered the picture after two failed efforts by previous developers, show contributions from those with ties to the project total more than $350,000, and many who gave money to Christie's unsuccessful presidential campaign donated up to the maximum amount allowed. Members of the Ghermezian family, the driving force behind Triple Five, have also made contributions to the state Republican Party, the records indicate."

 
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/15/benefiting-from-the-american-dream/
 
 3.  A similar pattern, including charges and convictions of bribery, have been reported in Las Vegas and Canada.
 
https://lasvegassun.com/news/2000/feb/20/casino-plan-puts-secretive-family-into-spotlight/

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/ex-tenants-sue-boca-park-developer/
 
 4. East End Beacon article  http://www.eastendbeacon.com/environmental-groups-urge-riverhead-not-to-go-through-with-epcal-deal/
 
If this bad deal is approved, the Town will be embarking on a very uncertain path which could result in quick resale to other interests, holding most of the land for future potential with little development, pressure to provide tax and bonding benefits to the new owner, or some as yet unknown mega-project that exerts political and economic pressure to access land currently listed as "undevelopable".


The long term use of EPCAL land must be more carefully considered, giving additional, better qualified purchasers, the opportunity to present their proposals.   

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the future of our Town. Together we are stronger.

Sincerely,

 Phil Barbato
 Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition





Below is a copy of the memo sent to Town of Riverhead Ethics Board









































































.............................................................................................................................................................




Town Board meeting May 16, 2018 at 7pm




Dear RNPC Members and Friends,   

The final vote on this terrible land give-away is likely to take place at this Wednesday night's Town Board meeting (May 16, 7pm).  The purchaser, Calverton Aviation and Technology (CAT), will get over 1600 acres of our last remaining major piece of open land for a mere $40 million.  Based on recent purchases of similarly zoned land, the price should be 5 or 6 times that amount. 


In addition, CAT has not complied with the legal requirements to demonstrate their "qualifications and eligibility" for this purchase.  They have not presented a definitive project proposal for which they can be held accountable and have not produced the required proof of financial capability to carry out a project. There's no clear evidence of economic benefit (taxes and jobs) to the citizens of Riverhead.  In spite of this, a 3 to 2 majority on the Town Board appears likely to bring this bad purchase to a vote on Wednesday. 


These three Town Board members need to hear from you NOW.  Their e-mail addresses and phone numbers are listed below.  Send  them a message to tell them you are opposed to this bad deal and will remember their vote on election day.

 
Tim Hubbard    hubbard@townofriverheadny.gov                 631-727-3200  X 223
Jodi Giglio    giglio@townofriverheadny.gov                             631-727-3200  X 225
Jim Wooten    wooten@townofriverheadny.gov                      631-727-3200  X 226

 
 
Here is some background:


The purchaser (CAT, owned by Triple Five, a private company of the Ghermezian family) has repeatedly refused to supply requested financial qualification information needed to establish qualified and eligible status. Failure to establish financial qualification has doomed past EPCAL proposals and should be reason to deny this purchase. 

Serious questions have also been raised about the "integrity and responsibility" that are required of the purchaser to be found "qualified and eligible", based on their history in New Jersey, Nevada and Canada and their conduct in Riverhead.  (see links about campaign contributions and criminal charges below)

A Republican majority in the previous Board irresponsibly added 1000 acres that as recently as January 2017 were not included in the $40 million purchase price.  It pushed through a deeply flawed contract written with Daniel Preston's Luminati Aerospace at its very last session in December. On May 1st, a Republican majority on the current Board voted to cut off public comment--only three days after the responses from the purchaser had been receiv.


 
Here are some related news articles for further information:

 
1.  http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2018/05/87106/guest-spot-future-of-epcal-hangs-in-the-balance/

2.  WNYC, NJ Spotlight, and Bloomberg Businessweek documented very large political contributions by the Ghermezians linked to their takeover of a mammoth development project in "Mall Madness", a five-part series on the American Dream retail and entertainment complex under construction in the Meadowlands on the west side of the Hudson.
 
 "A review of campaign-finance documents since 2011, when Triple Five entered the picture after two failed efforts by previous developers, show contributions from those with ties to the project total more than $350,000, and many who gave money to Christie's unsuccessful presidential campaign donated up to the maximum amount allowed. Members of the Ghermezian family, the driving force behind Triple Five, have also made contributions to the state Republican Party, the records indicate."
 
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/15/benefiting-from-the-american-dream/
 
3.  A similar pattern, including charges and convictions of bribery, have been reported in Las Vegas and Canada.
 
https://lasvegassun.com/news/2000/feb/20/casino-plan-puts-secretive-family-into-spotlight/
 
https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/ex-tenants-sue-boca-park-developer/

 
 4. East End Beacon article  http://www.eastendbeacon.com/environmental-groups-urge-riverhead-not-to-go-through-with-epcal-deal/


 
If this bad deal is approved, the Town will be embarking on a very uncertain path which could result in quick resale to other interests, holding most of the land for future potential with little development, pressure to provide tax and bonding benefits to the new owner, or some as yet unknown mega-project that exerts political and economic pressure to access land currently listed as "undevelopable".

The long term use of EPCAL land must be more carefully considered, giving additional, better qualified purchasers, the opportunity to present their proposals.   

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the future of our Town. Together we are stronger.

Sincerely,

 Phil Barbato
 Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition

The long term use of


EPCAL land must be more


carefully considered, giving


additional, better qualified


purchasers, the opportunity


to present their proposals.

MEMORANDUM

TO:         Town of Riverhead
               Ethics Board
               200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead, NY


FROM:    Coalition Against EPCAL Housing [CAEH}

DATE:     12 April 2018

RE:         Board of Ethics Formal Complaint

1.  Description of potential, conflict, issue or problem.

The Town of Riverhead is currently in the process of determining the Qualified and Eligible status of Calverton Aviation Technology, LLC [CAT] as it pertains to the sale of EPCAL properties by the Community Development Agency [CDA], a Town of Riverhead public authority.  

The Town Board council members [Giglio, Hubbard, Kent and Wooten] and the Town Supervisor [Jens-Smith] make up the Board of Directors for the CDA and in that capacity initiated public hearings on the above referenced matter on February 27, 2018.  All 5 members of the Town Board were in attendance during the 2/27/2018 hearing.

The public hearing was prolonged, running for some 4 hours.  Many members of the community stepped forward and presented questions about CAT LLC to the CDA Board of Directors.  As a result of this huge outpouring, the Town Supervisor, with unanimous agreement from the Town Board members, scheduled a second public hearing date [3/13/2018] and time.  Additionally, and most significantly, the ENTIRE Board agreed to ask their questions ONLY during this second hearing.  CAT LLC principles had asked that questions be submitted in advance of the 2nd hearing date, but that format was rejected by the entire board as unacceptable.

On March 12, 2018, Councilwoman Jodi Bennett Giglio traveled into NYC and met with representatives of CAT LLC.  This private meeting, with no recordings or formal record, was held without the knowledge of the Town Board, and most importantly the public.  The intent and the outcomes still remain shrouded in uncertainty.  

It is our contention that Ms. Giglio’s behavior tainted the qualified and eligible public hearing process.   Additionally, her private meeting with CAT LLC representatives fails utterly to allow for fairness and impartiality in the execution of her responsibilities as an elected Town of Riverhead official and a member of the Board of Directors of the Town of Riverhead Community Development Agency.  We believe that her actions, regardless of intentions, have irrevocably harmed Ms. Giglio’s ability to make a determination on the matter of qualified and eligible.  Ms. Giglio engaged in ex parte discussions that are inappropriate and unacceptable.

We ask that the Ethics Board find her in violation of several sections and sub-sections of our Town Ethics Code.  We further ask that the disposition of this matter require Ms. Giglio to recuse herself.

2.  Identify the Riverhead Town Code Section(s) that relates to the above complaint.

Chapter 113, Section 113-1(A)
Chapter 113, Section 113-1(B)(2)
Chapter 113, Section 113-1(B)(7)
Chapter 113, Section 113-4(B)(3)

Also relevant for consideration is Section 307.2 of the NYS Administrative Procedure Act:

Unless required for the disposition of ex parte matters authorized by law, members or employees of an agency assigned to render a decision or to make findings of fact and conclusions of law in an adjudicatory proceeding shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, in connection with any issue of fact, with any person or party, nor, in connection with any issue of law, with any party or his representative, except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate.

For more information on the potential purchaser, Calverton Aviation and Technology (CAT), owned by Triple Five, a private company of the Ghermezian family, 

go to the link below.


http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/13/all-in-the-family-the-canadian-clan-behind-the-american-dream-mall/



"Mall Madness", is a five-part series on the American Dream retail and entertainment complex under construction in the Meadowlands on the west side of the Hudson. The series was produced through a reporting collaboration between
WNYC, NJ Spotlight, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Featured @NJ Spotlight.com


Part 3
"All in the Family: The Canadian Clan Behind the American Dream Mall"


Noted from the article:


  • Triple Five has had success with two megamall complexes in the past but more recent projects have met with failure.
  • The megamall in the Meadowlands has still not opened.
  • Triple Five’s mall-development efforts met with failurein Las Vegas, New York, and Maryland.


An official who worked on one of these projects says that he was never contacted by New Jersey to discuss what went wrong, raising questions about whether New Jersey truly did its due diligence. Duncan, the former government official from Maryland, said he would have expected a call from officials in New Jersey doing due diligence before they struck the deal to bring on Triple Five.But there was no call. “No one from New Jersey called to do any kind of background check or anything on them,” Duncan said.


Doug Duncan, is a former county executive for Montgomery County, MD, which is a suburb of Washington, D.C.“I think they expected us out of desperation to just keep putting more public money into the project because we needed this project so badly we would basically give them everything they wanted,” he said. “They were very surprised when I ended a meeting with them and said, ‘You know, you don't have the money in it. That's it, we're done.’”

Norman Krone, a former Triple Five consultant who said he worked on company projects in China, wrote a letter to Christie in 2011, to look more skeptically at Triple Five and its projections, and it cast doubt on the developer’s ability to find success in the Meadowlands. “Triple Five has not developed a significant project in the United States and has, in fact, failed to implement several large-scale projects in other locales,” Krone wrote to Christie.


Read the complete article @
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/13/all-in-the-family-the-canadian-clan-behind-the-american-dream-mall/


...........................................................................


Part 4
"Putting a Price Tag on the American Dream"


"Getting to the requisite $5 billion will require a labyrinthine arrangement of private loans, bond sales, tax incentives — and a public finance agency in Wisconsin."


Noted from the article:


  • Triple Five intends to use more than $1 billion in tax-free municipal bonds to cover construction costs.
  •  Triple Five is trying to raise $2.65 billion from investors to complete the development project.
  • The developer is planning to raise another $1.5 billion for construction through a private loan, which would run the total price tag of the project up to $5 billion
  • How much of its own cash equity Triple Five is putting on the table? According to documents submitted to the Economic Development Authority, that amount appears to be $200 million.


Read the complete article @
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/15/putting-a-price-tag-on-the-american-dream/


........................................................................


Other news articles for further information:


http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2018/05/87106/guest-spot-future-of-epcal-hangs-in-the-balance/


http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/15/benefiting-from-the-american-dream/


https://lasvegassun.com/news/2000/feb/20/casino-plan-puts-secretive-family-into-spotlight/
 
https://www.reviewjournal.com/news
/ex-tenants-sue-boca-park-developer/


http://www.eastendbeacon.com/environmental-groups-urge-riverhead-not-to-go-through-with-epcal-deal/