Luminati CEO Daniel Preston at a June 16, 2017 event at the 'grand re-opening' of Plant Six at the Calverton Enterprise Park. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Luminati Aerospace has agreed to surrender its rented premises at the Calverton Enterprise Park in settlement of an eviction proceeding brought by the landlord for nonpayment of rent.

Jaret Weber of Weber Law Group, attorney for the landlord Laoudis of Calverton, withdrew the petition seeking Luminati’s eviction from the 35,102-square-foot premises, a portion of the what was known as Building Six when Northrop Grumman manufactured military aircraft at the former Naval reserve plant in Calverton.

Weber did not attend the Riverhead Justice Court session this afternoon where the petition was on the calendar before Justice Lori Hulse, but faxed a letter to the court advising that the matter was settled.

Jonathan Brown, representing Luminati Aerospace confirmed the settlement to the judge.

He said outside the courtroom that his client would have a period of time to make arrangements to have his property removed from the premises.

Laoudis of Calverton brought the action to recover possession of the premises do to alleged nonpayment of rent totalling $53,310.74 as of Feb. 1.

Luminati Aerospace is a member in Calverton Aviation and Technology, the firm in contract to purchase 1,643 acres of vacant land at the Calverton Enterprise Park from the Riverhead Community Development Agency.

Luminati leased a portion of Plant Six from Laoudis in July 2016, with an initial term that was to end July 31, 2021, according to court documents. The agreement gave Luminati the option to renew through July 2036.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Luminati, 400 David Court LLC, owns a separate facility at the Enterprise Park, the hanger and office building purchased from Skydive Long Isand in 2015. That site adjoins one of the enterprise park’s two runways, which are owned by the Riverhead CDA.

The Riverhead CDA in November 2015 entered into an agreement with Luminati granting it the right to use and control the runway.

Principal Daniel Preston told the town board, which sits as the board of the Riverhead CDA, that he planned to manufacture solar- and wind-powered unmanned aerial vehicles at Calverton he said would achieve perpetual flight and would be used to bring internet service to areas of the globe lacking service. He said during a qualified and eligible hearing in 2015 that he had the backing of a “Fortune 250” company in the research and development of the UAVs.

Preston initially sought ZBA variances to build a large expansion on the Skydive facility.

At a media event in June 2016, Preston announced he would be leasing a portion of Plant Six and by November of that year would be in production on the SeaMax, an amphibious aircraft at that site.

At the time, he predicted Luminati would employ a workforce of about 800 people within three years.

Production on the SeaMax aircraft never got underway, as a dispute ensued between Luminati and the owner of SeaMax. Preston also parted ways with key players of the “dream team” he introduced to the town at the October 2015 public hearing.

A year later, he held another media event at Plant Six, where he unveiled carbon-fiber layup machines that he said he would use to build the UAVs and other equipment that he said he would use to manufacture artillery-resistant components, in partnership with Dupont.

At that event, attended by town and county officials, business and civic leaders, a former astronaut and many media outlets, Preston declared Plant Six “operational.”

“Luminati’s initial project will be the research, development, testing and manufacture of HALE aircraft — high-altitude, long endurance, unmanned aerial vehicles,” Preston said at the time.

“After the initial project is concluded, Luminati’s business plan is to be a major force in the aerospace industry, focusing on its unique abilities in ultra-thin ply composites,” he said.

Hexcel Corporation, a large, publicly traded composites manufacturing corporation, made a $10 million loan to Luminati, convertible to stock in the company.

Hexcel in March filed a lawsuit against Luminati, alleging various defaults in its agreement, accelerating the debt and seeking an order allowing it to seize equipment held on the premises occupied by Luminati at the enterprise park, including the carbon-fiber layup machines.

Luminati executed a promissory note, mortgage, guarantee and security agreement and financing statements granting Hexcel liens on its real property — the former Skydive site — and all its equipment and other personal property (the collateral for the loan), including equipment worth some $7 million located in Building Six. The note, mortgage, guaranty and security agreement covered the equipment Preston said he would use to manufacture the ultralight unmanned aircraft — carbon-fiber layup machines he likened to “a jillion-dollar 3D printer of airplanes.”

Hexcel is seeking a court order accelerating the $10 million debt to become immediately due and payable in full and an order authorizing the sheriff to enter both the former Skydive hanger and the Building Six facility to seize Luminati’s equipment and personal property which Hexcel says is subject to liens in its favor. The parties are due in State Supreme Court on April 24.

Preston, meanwhile, told the website InnovateLI.com last fall that he relocated Luminati’s VTOL (“vertical takeoff and landing”) division to upstate Little Falls. He blamed delays by the Town of Riverhead for his decision to relocate.

“I could not wait forever to decide where to locate the business and jobs,” Preston told InnovateLI.com.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.