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Giglio meets with ethics board; no opinion issued yet

07/11/2018 12:00 PM |

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio went before the Town ethics board Tuesday night, but the board did not issue a recommendation as to whether she should recuse herself from voting on the proposed $40 million sale of 1,640 acres of town-owned land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton to a group called Calverton Aviation & Technology. 

The Town Board has held off on voting on CAT’s proposal until it receives a recommendation from the ethics board.

Ms. Giglio, who attended the meeting with attorney Keith Brown of Brown & Altman in Melville, said the ethics board asked her to provide an affidavit confirming the information she provided.

The ethics board, whose meetings are not open to the public and are only held as needed, did not schedule a follow-up meeting with her, Ms. Giglio said, indicating that they may make a decision soon. But she said the board did not give a timeline for when it would act.

Ethics board decisions are merely advisory.

The ethics complaint against Ms. Giglio was filed April 12 by a group called Citizens Against EPCAL Housing. It stated that Ms. Giglio should recuse herself from voting on whether CAT is a “qualified and eligible sponsor” to purchase and develop the 1,640 acres as proposed because she had meet privately with CAT principals for four hours in Manhattan on March 12.

The complaint says the “entire Town Board agreed to ask their questions” to CAT at thesecond Q&E hearing on March 13, and the board refused to give CAT its questions in advance.

“It is our contention that Ms. Giglio’s behavior tainted the Q&E public hearing process” and failed to allow for “fairness and impartiality,” the complaint stated.

Ms. Giglio said she never agreed to hold off asking questions of CAT until the second hearing, and the Town Board majority never did so by resolution. She said the board did decide in executive session to let the public ask questions before the Town Board, something she opposed.

The CAEH is coordinated by Rex Farr of Calverton, longtime president of the Greater Calverton Civic Association.

Ms. Giglio has maintained that she was only getting information needed to vet the CAT proposal.

A similar complaint was filed by Riverhead attorney Ellen Hoil recently, although Ms. Hoil’s complaint was filed with the state Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau, which has more enforcement power that the ethics board.

Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the Town Board will not wait for the attorney general to make a ruling before it votes on CAT’s Q&E status. She said she doesn’t think there is enough support on the Town Board for to hold off on voting.

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