File photo: Denise Civiletti

Our town is about to sell most of your land at the old Grumman property in Calverton, known as EPCAL. That’s 1,644 acres for $40 million, or about $24,334 for each acre — a giveaway price.

How far would this $40 million go? Well, that amount would cover the Town’s budget for a grand total of 149 days, and then it would be gone.

Who is the lucky buyer? A Canadian mega-mall developer, Triple Five, has partnered with Daniel Preston’s, Luminati Aerospace, in order to scoop up this deal. Preston’s history is fraught with misrepresentation, unscrupulous activities and lack of integrity.

What are their plans? Grand promises for economic development led by Preston’s Luminati. But wait — Preston has abandoned his operation at EPCAL and fled upstate without paying his bills. And these empty promises for economic development come with no guarantees in the contract. There are no consequences if they produce nothing.

Will this sale lower your taxes? Not likely as they plan to apply for every possible tax exemption.

What can you do? Check out the excellent reporting by RiverheadLOCAL and the News-Review on the purchasers’ past history and misdeeds and the weaknesses in the contract. If this deal sounds terrible to you, contact your town board members at 631-727-3200. Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, and town board Members: James Wooten, Jodi Giglio, Catherine Kent, Tim Hubbard.)

Tell them this isn’t even close to the best we can do. There is so much more potential for this land to provide a long-range and steady tax base and a beautifully preserved town park. Rejecting this badly flawed deal would open the door to better proposals and more certain outcomes.

Phil Barbato

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