Luminati Aerospace owes the Town of Riverhead tens of thousands of dollars in past-due runway rent, false alarm fees and real property taxes, according to Riverhead Town records.
Town officials are discussing what to do about the debt and what Luminati’s apparent financial woes mean for the development of the site by Calverton Aviation and Technology, a company owned by Luminati Aerospace and Triple Five Group that’s in a controversial $40 million land deal with the Riverhead Community Development Agency. The CDA is poised to sell CAT 1,643 acres of vacant land at the Calverton Enterprise Park for the development of an industrial park focused on aviation and technology.
As first reported by RiverheadLOCAL last week, Luminati investor Hexcel Corporation has declared Luminati in default on a $10 million promissory note and filed an action in State Supreme Court seeking to seize Luminati’s equipment and other personal property at its Calverton facilities to partially satisfy the debt.
This week, Luminati agreed to surrender premises it leased at EPCAL’s Plant Six in 2016 in settlement of an eviction proceeding brought by the property owner, who alleged nonpayment of rent totalling $53,310.74 as of Feb. 1.
Luminati Aerospace is also the defendant in a pending lawsuit brought in New York County in November 2017 by an investigations firm it hired. T&M Protection Resources says in its complaint Luminati hired the firm in November 2015 to investigate an undisclosed business entity. T&M says Luminati owes more than $35,000 for services rendered by the firm in 2016. Luminati failed to appear or answer the complaint and T&M is now seeking a default judgment. Its October 2018 motion for a default judgment went unanswered and a court decision is pending.
Luminati Aerospace is the minority owner of CAT — with a 25 percent stake in the company. The remaining 75 percent is owned by a Triple Five Group subsidiary, Triple Five Real Estate-1. The Triple Five affiliate is CAT’s sole managing member.
Nevertheless, Luminati remains a key player in the future development of the enterprise park, according to Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith. Its ability to fulfill its role in the development of the proposed aviation and technology center is crucial to the viability of the deal, she said in an interview Wednesday.
“Luminati Aerospace is at the center of the development plan that’s incorporated in the contract of sale and was at the center of CAT’s presentations during the qualified and eligible hearings,” Jens-Smith said.
If Luminati is not capable of — or willing to — fill that central role, where does that leave the controversial land deal with Calverton Aviation and Technology?
That’s a question that must be answered by the town’s attorneys, Jens-Smith said. She said the town board has asked its outside counsel on the deal for advice and is awaiting their response.
Christopher Kent, an attorney for Calverton Aviation and Technology did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.
Luminati has control of the town-owned 10,000-foot runway at EPCAL, under a runway use agreement signed in November 2015. The agreement calls for an annual rent payment, with the term running from Nov. 1 through Oct. 31 each year for 10 years. The town has been accepting monthly payments from Luminati, but it has not received any payments since September, Jens-Smith said. The company had been paying $2,765 per month, she said.
Luminati also owes $22,820 in false alarm fees in connection with the premises it owns at 400 David Court, according to Riverhead Police Department records obtained by RiverheadLOCAL by a Freedom of Information Law request.
The town code requires commercial premises that have fire or police alarms to obtain a permit for the alarm and it imposes a charge for every false emergency alarm to which police or fire departments respond after the first two false alarms in a calendar year. After the first two false alarms, there is a fee of $100 for the third false alarm, $200 for the fourth and $300 for the fifth and each subsequent false alarm. The police department invoices the responsible owner or tenant quarterly.
The department’s records indicate police responded to false alarms at 400 David Court 92 times since Luminati took possession of the former Skydive site — 73 times in 2018 alone, and nine times in the first three months of 2019.
The first-half payment of 2018/2019 property taxes on the 400 David Court property — $23,465, due Jan. 10 — remains outstanding, town tax receiver Laurie Zaneski confirmed yesterday. Prior taxes have been paid, though last year’s second half payment, due May 31, was paid late and remitted to the county treasurer, Zaneski said.
We need your help.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.