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Solar company withdraws lawsuit, but says Luminati offer is invalid

02/22/2018 6:01 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO<br /> sPower, which owns this solar farm on Edwards Avenue, is seeking to buy 1,640 acres at EPCAL

Sustainable Property Holdings LLC — best known as sPower — has withdrawn its lawsuit against Riverhead Town and Calverton Aviation & Technology, saying that the latter admitted in a court document that the 2017 letter of intent between the town and Luminati Aerospace was no longer valid.

The solar company sPower recently told the Town Board it wants to buy the remaining town-owned land at EPCAL for more than $40 million to build solar energy panels. Calverton Aviation & Technology will be the subject of a Qualified and Eligible hearing Tuesday to determine if it can proceed with its purchase of that same land for $40 million.

sPower cited a line in a Feb. 15 memorandum of understanding that was filed in court by CA&T attorney Anthony Tohill. The document reads: “The letter of intent has at this point been superseded by a definitive agreement which has been in substance approved by the [Community Development Agency].”

The original letter of intent signed in 2017 was between the town and Luminati Aerospace, whereas the current proposal is between the town and CA&T, which is jointly owned by Luminati Aerospace and Triple Five Real Estate I.

“We are pleased that Luminati and the defendants conceded that the letter of intent is no longer valid,” said Jason Stern, an attorney for sPower. “We believe the Community Development Agency is in a position to evaluate a better proposal and make their decision in the best interests of Riverhead.”

The CDA board is comprised of the same members as the Town Board.

“CA&T believes that the lawsuit was withdrawn because it was clear that if the motion to dismiss had been considered, the Court would have dismissed the lawsuit, after having denied in all respects the application for a temporary restraining order stopping the Town from calling the hearing,” said Robert Hasday, the attorney for CA&T.

“In CA&T’s view, the latest claim by the lawyers for the solar farm companies is nothing more than a desperate attempt to save face after a lawsuit that was fatally flawed before the ink was dry.”

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said she doesn’t plan on doing anything different and plans to have the Qualified and Eligible sponsor hearing on Tuesday as planned.

“I think they’re just trying to grab at straws,” she said. “Our attorneys said we are proceeding in the proper fashion by having the Q&E hearing.”

She said the only way the town can accept or reject CA&T’s proposal is to have the hearing first.

Photo caption: sPower owns this solar farm on Edwards Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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