Photo: Denise Civiletti

(Updated My 17-5:20 a.m.)

The EPCAL contract of sale is now finalized.

Calverton Aviation and Technology has given Riverhead Town notice of its intention to proceed to closing.

The contract gave the purchaser two 90-day due diligence periods for conducting site investigations. The second due diligence period expires May 20. Until now, the purchaser had the option to terminate the contract and pull out of the deal.

The town has one year from the date of the notice, which officials said was provided to the town’s lawyer yesterday, to file a final subdivision map with the Suffolk County clerk.

The town’s subdivision application, to split the town’s remaining land at the EPCAL site into eight lots, is currently pending before the Riverhead planning board, which held a public hearing on the application May 2.

Calverton Aviation and Technology is purchasing 1,644 acres of vacant, industrial land at the former Naval Weapons Reserve Plant occupied by Northrop Grumman, for $40 million. The sale includes the site’s two runways.

At least three members of the town board are prepared to move forward with hiring a second outside law firm to advise the board on the status of the contract with recent indications by CAT partner Luminati Aerospace that it has moved its operations out of the Calverton Enterprise Park and to a location upstate. Luminati Aerospace, in addition to being a member CAT, which will hold title to the property, was also a principal player in the proposed development of the site, according to both the contract’s “intended development plan” and the presentations made by the CAT at the qualified and eligible hearing.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and council members Tim Hubbard and Catherine Kent were all in agreement on hiring one of the law firms interviewed by board members. Councilwoman Jodi Giglio objected, arguing that the town should hire a law firm from New York City or Washington D.C. rather than one with offices on Long Island.

Town attorney Robert Kozakiewicz said the four firms he presented to the board were all qualified, had never done any business with the town or represented anyone in any matters against the town and were all nonpartisan. All agreed to work for the standard municipal rate, he said.

Councilman James Wooten reasserted his objection to hiring any new law firm to advise the board on the contract.

“I’m not paying $1,000 an hour to chase our tails. You guys are crazy,” Wooten said. “I ain’t gonna do it. Ain’t gonna do it. These decisions can be made without spending the money.”

After further discussion in executive session following the public portion of the meeting, the supervisor’s office announced the board would take up a resolution at its upcoming meeting on May 22 hiring the Garden City-based law firm of Stagg, Terenzi, Confusione & Wasnik.

That’s the same law firm the supervisor asked the board to hire at a special board meeting April 25. It was one of three firms vetted by the town attorney at the request of the supervisor. Only Councilwoman Catherine Kent supported the appointment at that time. Hubbard said the whole board should have an opportunity to interview the prospective law firms. Giglio argued that the firm’s selection was “political patronage” because it had made campaign contributions to Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone and the Babylon Town Democratic Committee.

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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.