05/12/13 7:00am
05/12/2013 7:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Field Day stage days before the planned event in Calverton.

Five months after Riverhead Town voted to pay $1 million to settle its end of the nine-year-old Field Day lawsuit, a jury has ruled in favor of the remaining defendants in the case.

Court officials said there is currently no order requiring the Field Day concert promoters to pay legal fees to Suffolk County and New York State and that the jury on May 1 simply ruled against Field Day and in favor of the municipalities.

The promoters had sought more than $30 million in damages from the various municipalities that declined to approve the proposed 2003 rock festival in Calverton.

Riverhead Town and its police chief, David Hegermiller, were removed as defendants in the case in December after the town agreed to pay Field Day $1 million as a settlement to end its involvement in the case.

“We didn’t pay the full $1 million,” Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday. “We paid $250,000 and our insurance company paid the rest.”

He said with legal fees going at about $25,000 per week for outside counsel, the town probably would have spent close to $250,000 had it not settled.

Field Day LLC and AEG Live LLC filed the lawsuit in May 2004 against Suffolk County, Riverhead Town, New York State and numerous officials and departments within those municipalities after a proposed three-day music festival at the Enterprise Park at Calverton slated for June 17, 2003 did not receive the necessary approvals.

Field Day, which would have featured popular artists like Radiohead, the Beastie Boys and Beck, never took place at EPCAL because the county refused to provide police protection and the town said it didn’t have enough police officers of its own, which resulted in the county health department denying Field Day a mass gathering permit.

It eventually was moved to Giants Stadium in New Jersey as a one-day event on short notice, but had poor attendance due to heavy rains that day.

Town officials never officially approved nor denied the music festival, but instead held a press conference a few days before the concert was scheduled to start and announced that they would not issue the permit.

The lawsuit named Riverhead Town as a defendant and town police chief Chief Hegermiller personally, claiming his request for 150 more officers from the Suffolk County police department was not based on any standards or requirements found in the New York Mass Gatherings Laws.

While the town was removed as a defendant, several town officials still were called to testify in the eight week trial, which began on March 20 and ended on May 1. Among those called to testify were Chief Hegermiller, former Supervisor and current Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz, and former town attorney Dawn Thomas. Former town councilman Chris Kent also testified, although Mr. Kent was not in office at the time Field Day was proposed and was representing the concert promoters as a private attorney at the time.

Field Day was one of two large music festivals proposed for EPCAL that summer. The other, Bonnaroo Northeast, also featured big name acts, but it canceled after Field Day failed to gain approvals.

tgannon@timesreview.com

04/08/13 2:11pm
04/08/2013 2:11 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Field Day stage days before the planned event in Calverton.

The trial in the nine-year Field Day lawsuit began last week, and while Riverhead Town is no longer involved in the case as a defendant, it is still well represented, as several current and former town officials have been subpoenaed to testify either by Suffolk County or by the concert promoters.

Field Day LLC and AEG Live LLC filed the lawsuit in May of 2004 against Suffolk County, Riverhead Town, New York State and various officials from those entities in 2004 after a proposed two-day music festival at the Enterprise Park at Calverton failed to gain the necessary approvals to move forward.

The county declined to issue a special gathering permit for the concert after the Riverhead Town police said they would not have enough officers to patrol it.

The concert, originally scheduled for July 2003, was to have featured well-known acts like Beck, the Beastie Boys and Radiohead, and was eventually moved to Giants Stadium as a one-day event, although it took place during a torrential rain storm.

Field Day initially sought $30 million in damages.

A $1 million settlement with Riverhead Town in December knocked the town off the defendant list, although the lawsuit against Suffolk County continues to move forward.

Current town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz, who was town supervisor at the time, has already been called to testify in the case, as has former town attorney Dawn Thomas and police chief David Hegermiller.

In addition to those who already testified, a list of potential county witnesses published on Feb. 26 includes other former town officials such as former town council members Ed Densieski, Barbara Blass, and Rose Sanders, former town fire marshal Bruce Johnson, and Joey MacLellan, a  former executive assistant to the supervisor.

12/18/12 6:45pm
12/18/2012 6:45 PM

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday night voted to settle the eight-year Field Day lawsuit, and unanimously approved the hiring of former congressman George Hochbrueckner as  a consultant on EPCAL issues.

The board also unanimously approved a deal with the North Fork Animal Welfare League to have the nonprofit group run the town animal shelter.

News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live from the meeting, which started at 7 p.m.

Click below to see what happened.

 

 

Riverhead Town Board agenda 12-18-2012

12/13/12 1:56pm
12/13/2012 1:56 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Th Field Day stage days before the planned event in Calverton.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Field Day stage days before the planned event in Calverton.

Riverhead Town may be close to reaching a $1 million settlement in the eight-year Field Day lawsuit, town officials said.

That’s the case in which the promoter of a proposed 2003 music festival at the town’s Enterprise Park at Calverton sought more than $30 million in damages from a number of town, county and state officials after the concert was denied.

“I cannot believe this came to fruition,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Thursday, as the Town Board reviewed a draft resolution to settle the case.

In the draft settlement, the supervisor said the town agreed to pay Field Day LLC, the concert promoters, a total of $1 million, of which $250,000 would come from the town and the other $750,000 would be paid by the town’s insurance company.

He said Field Day has accepted that offer.

The Town Board was discussing the issue further in executive session Thursday and the resolution to authorize the settlement is expected to be formally voted on at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Field Day LLC and AEG Live LLC filed the lawsuit in May 2004 against Suffolk County, the county health department, then-county executive Bob Gaffney, numerous other county officials, Riverhead Town, Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, then-Riverhead Supervisor Bob Kozakiewicz and his executive assistant, Joey MacLellan, as well as New York State.

“This ends the litigation against the chief and town and then it’s over for us,” Mr. Walter said. “The litigation will go forward with the county.”

Field Day was a proposed three-day music festival at EPCAL that would have featured major acts such as Radiohead, Beastie Boys and Beck, among others.

The concert never took place because the county refused to provide police protection, and the town said it didn’t have enough police officers of its own, which resulted in the county health department denying Field Day a mass gathering permit.

The lawsuit named Chief Hegermiller personally, claiming his request for 150 more officers from the Suffolk County police department was not based on any standards or requirements found in the New York Mass Gatherings Laws.

The chief also had written a letter saying the town could “possibly” provide 50 police officers, in addition to the county officers.

“Field Day believed that by itself providing private security officers to control the festival inside the Enterprise Park, the Riverhead Police Department could provide a reasonable number of public law enforcement officers to control traffic flow into and outside of the Enterprise Park site, as well as a reasonable number of officers inside the site,” Field Day states in the lawsuit.

Town officials never officially approved nor denied the music festival, but instead held a press conference a few days before the concert was scheduled to start and announced that they would not issue the permit.

The concert was quickly moved to Giants Stadium in New Jersey as a one-day event, and there was a torrential rainstorm that day, which further limited attendance at the event.

Charles Bachman, the attorney representing Field Day in the case, declined comment Thursday.

tgannon@timesreview.com