The deadline to negotiate a contract pursuant to the letter of intent signed by the Town of Riverhead and Luminati Aerospace has been extended again.
The town’s attorneys requested an additional 10 days, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said yesterday.
Riverhead and Luminati Aerospace entered into a “letter of intent” in April, in which Luminati offered to buy most of the town’s remaining acreage at the Calverton Enterprise Park for $40 million. The “letter of intent” gave the parties 30 days to negotiate the terms of a “definitive agreement,” after which Luminati was to make an initial deposit of $500,000, with an additional $500,000 deposit due upon the expiration of a 90-day due diligence period.
But the negotiation of the definitive agreement has not yet been completed, according to town officials. The negotiation was initially delayed by disagreement among town officials over which law firm would represent the town in the negotiation. Walter wanted Riverhead attorney Frank Isler, who handles a lot of legal work as outside counsel to the Town of Riverhead, to handle the sale. But Councilman Tim Hubbard questioned Isler’s capability to handle the deal. Eventually the town board agreed to have a second lawyer, Michael Heller, join Isler in representing the town in the sale.
Proposed contracts were not forwarded to Luminati’s attorneys until June 1. The draft contracts did not yet include a detailed description of the property to be sold to Luminati, because the town had to have a survey and revised subdivision completed before its lawyers could write a metes and bounds description of the property. Luminati Aerospace paid for the preparation of the survey and revised subdivision June 13. The survey wasn’t completed and delivered until more than three months later, in late September or early October, according to the supervisor.
Meanwhile, in mid-July, United Refining Energy, which owns United Riverhead Terminal in Northville and United Metro Energy in Calverton, announced it would “join forces” with Luminati Aerospace. In a July 14 press release, United Refining said it had sent a letter to Luminati Aerospace stating it was “highly interested in providing Luminati with “the financing necessary for the purchase.”
NYC billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, founder and owner of United Refining, said he has “deep roots in aviation” and was “very excited by Luminati’s development plans for the property.”
But since then, United Refining’s spokesperson J. Nelson Happy has stated multiple times that the company has not yet made a firm commitment to the deal with Luminati. Happy repeated that statement yesterday in a phone interview.
The town supervisor said the attorney for Luminati returned a marked-up contract to the town’s lawyers prior to the Nov. 30 deadline previously set by the town and the contracts now identify the buyers as United Riverhead Terminal along with Luminati Aerospace. Happy denied knowledge of that, however.
“I can’t tell you where Luminati and John Catsimatides are,” Walter said when told that United Refining’s spokesperson said the company and Luminati are still negotiating. “I can only say that on the contract it says United Riverhead Terminal and Luminati. So I can only assume they are very close.”
Robert Hasday, an attorney for Luminati Aerospace today denied that the contracts now “identify the buyers as United Riverhead Terminal along with Luminati Aerospace.” That statement is “not accurate,” Hasday said in an email.
Walter predicted yesterday that the town board would be holding a hearing on the proposed sale to Luminati and United at the second meeting in January.
Editor’s note: This article has been amended after publication to include the comments of Robert Hasday, an attorney for Luminati Aerospace, who disputed Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter’s statement that the contracts now identify the buyers as United Riverhead Terminal and Luminati Aerospace.