Re: EPCAL Update & a New petition 7/17/18



Here is a new petition which is a follow-up to the EPCAL contract covenants letter.


The call for covenants in the EPCAL contract has attracted 61 signers.  It has helped to raise the practical issues that need to be addressed in the EPCAL contract with the Ghermezians but has not generated enough support to have a big impact.

Nevertheless, the Town Board is moving toward a decision on selling the EPCAL land to the Ghermezians.  Unless the Ethics Board urges Ms. Giglio to recuse herself, and she honors their opinion, a Party line vote will approve Qualified and Eligible.

The unwillingness of the majority to even admit it is waiving the Q & E financial requirements is disquieting.


Reported here:
https://riverheadlocal.com/2018/07/10/dispute-continues-over-how-much-financial-disclosure-to-require-of-buyer-in-epcal-land-deal/

We have launched a new petition which simply calls on all Board members to vote no.  Please consider signing and circulating it. We need lots of support to influence Tim Hubbard, the swing vote,


Sign the petition here:

tinyurl.com/EPCALno 

Logically the latest Chris Kempner twist in the scandal of Ms. Giglio's secret meeting with the Ghermezians (reported here) will strengthen the case for recusal.

Reported here:
https://riverheadlocal.com/2018/07/13/former-riverhead-official-was-a-broker-for-triple-five-in-deal-with-dowling-college-bankruptcy-court-record-shows/



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


EPCAL Sale: Latest Updates and Petition




Dear RNPC Members and Colleagues,
 
Here are three important updates for your information and use.  
 
1.  Below is a message just sent to the Town Board calling their attention to an article that fleshes out the allegation of corrupt payments by the Ghermezians in Las Vegas.
 
2.  The letter from Rex Farr and John McAuliff  published in the News Review about much needed contract covenants can be read here: 

https://tinyurl.com/covenantletter
 
3.  The new petition on the EPCAL contract is here: 

https://tinyurl.com/covenantEPCAL
 
Sincerely,
 
Phil Barbato, Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition




Below is a message just sent to the Town Board:
................................................................................................
 
Dear members of the Town Board,
 
There has been uncertainty about how to interpret a brief mention in a Las Vegas news story of a Ghermezian family payment to Erin Kenny, a member of the City Commission who had become a cooperating witness in a major corruption trial.  
 

Some research over the weekend demonstrated that the accusation was made in sworn testimony and that she was not the only Commissioner to receive money from Triple Five.
 
A long article by an investigative reporter is here:
https://lasvegassun.com/news/2006/may/15/power-of-triple-five/
 
You can find Jeff German's professional standing here:   https://www.reviewjournal.com/staff/jeff-german/
 
The article is quite long.  Below are some highlights but please read it yourself
to consider whether the Ghermezians have the "integrity and responsibility" to
be deemed "qualified and eligible" for an irreversible sale of Riverhead's most
valuable asset.  

 

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

 
Power of Triple Five
 
by Jeff German and Steve Kanigher


https://lasvegassun.com/news/2006/may/15/power-of-triple-five/
 
Monday, May 15, 2006 | 7:18 a.m.
 
During Erin Kenny's testimony last month at the corruption trial of two former Clark County commissioners, federal prosecutors asked if she had taken bribes from anyone other than ex-strip club owner Michael Galardi.
   
"Yes, one other party," replied Kenny, a former county commissioner who had also taken bribes from Galardi but later agreed to cooperate in the government's case.
 
In 2000, Kenny said, she began receiving $3,000 a month in cash from Triple Five Nevada Development Corp., one of Southern Nevada's most prominent real estate developers. The payments began just months after she voted in favor of the company's ill-fated casino proposal in Spring Valley and the money flowed for nearly three years, she said.
 
Kenny added that Triple Five started paying her only after she asked for a job. The company knew it had no other business coming before the commission, she said.
 
Nonetheless, her testimony cast a shadow over the high-powered Triple Five - a company with international ties that has built some of the Las Vegas Valley's largest retail centers and is a major political player in Southern Nevada.
   
Triple Five issued a statement after Kenny's testimony, strongly denying the allegation.
   
"Having already pleaded guilty to betrayal of the public trust in so many different ways, her alleged testimony is not worthy of belief," the statement said.
 
Jurors, however, regarded her testimony, and Galardi's, as credible enough to convict former County Commissioners Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey. Whether federal authorities believed her about Triple Five is an open question.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Schiess, the lead prosecutor, said he had asked Kenny about her dealings with Triple Five to show the jury that she was "involved in other corrupt activities," which he did not identify.
 
After the trial, prosecutors said the federal corruption investigation is continuing. But they will not comment on the Triple Five bribery claim or whether they are looking into Kenny's allegation.
   
Kenny's testimony in the corruption trial last month rekindled the controversy, shedding new light on why she ignored the pleas of her constituents and pushed hard for the casino on behalf of Triple Five.
 
She testified that after she voted for the proposal, Triple Five started paying her $3,000 a month through May 2003, when FBI agents broke open the corruption investigation with raids on Galardi's strip clubs.
   
She said the payments were made by former Triple Five Vice President Don Davidson on behalf of Eskandar Ghermezian, who claimed he owed her a "life debt" over the Spring Valley casino vote.
 
In the beginning, Kenny said, Davidson brought her work to do in return for the
money - she edited company brochures. Eventually, however, the work stopped coming in, but not the money.
   
"What happened with respect to the job and money?" Schiess asked Kenny.
 
"Over time, he would give me jobs to do," she said. "I would do the jobs, whatever they were, and at the end of every month he would pay me. And after about three or four months, maybe a little longer, he stopped giving me work to do ..."
 
Schiess: "What would happen each month when the work would stop coming in connection with Mr. Davidson?"
 
Kenny: "He just continued to pay me."
   
Schiess: "How much did he pay you?"
 
Kenny: "Three thousand dollars."
 
Schiess: "In what form?"
 
Kenny: "Cash."
.......
 
Kenny, it turns out, wasn't the only commissioner whose actions were questioned in the Spring Valley casino debate.
 
Former County Commissioner Lance Malone had promised Triple Five's competitor in the area, neighborhood casino giant Station Casinos Inc., that he would not support the Triple Five project. He also told residents in the area that he wouldn't vote for the proposal.
 
But at the last minute, Malone switched allegiance to Triple Five and ended up becoming the swing vote that led to the County Commission's approval. 
.......
 
A couple of months before the Spring Valley casino vote, campaign records show, Malone collected $14,500 in campaign contributions from Triple Five and its affiliates.
 
FBI reports obtained by the Sun quote Galardi alleging more questionable conduct on the part of Malone and Triple Five.
 
Galardi, while striking a deal to cooperate with the government in 2003, told FBI agents that Malone told him that he received $150,000 from Triple Five and the Ghermezian brothers for supporting the Spring Valley proposal.
 
Malone reportedly indicated that he had "worked under the table" with the Ghermezians without the knowledge of Station Casinos and others who thought he was opposing the project.




Below are more articles on EPCAL


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



Three links to share with friends, family,


neighbors and colleagues in Riverhead:



READ, VIEW and SIGN UP!


A just published excellent analysis of the deeply flawed EPCAL contract by Greg Blass  https://riverheadlocal.com/2018/05/28/if-you-support-the-current-epcal-land-deal-did-you-actually-read-the-contract/

The revealing outburst by Triple 5 Chairman Ghermezian 
https://youtu.be/7R-CTtt5FVM    
“You have to hug us. You have to kiss us”


The petition urging Jodi Giglio recuse herself  tinyurl.com/RecuseJodi





No vote yet 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 CAEH memo sent to Town of Riverhead Ethics Board:






































































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




Town Board meeting May 16, 2018 at 7pm



UPDATE: No vote was taken on the EPCAL sale to CAT at the May 16th Town Board meeting. Supervisor Jens-Smith stated that the Town Board is awaiting the decision from the Ethics Board on the complaint filed by CAEH



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/