Featured Story
02/22/18 6:01am
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Sustainable Property Holdings LLC — best known as sPower — has withdrawn its lawsuit against Riverhead Town and Calverton Aviation & Technology, saying that the latter admitted in a court document that the 2017 letter of intent between the town and Luminati Aerospace was no longer valid. READ

Featured Story
02/02/18 5:45pm
02/02/2018 5:45 PM

The solar energy company that recently offered Riverhead Town more than $40 million to buy over 1,600 acres of town-owned land at EPCAL is now suing the town for not letting them submit that offer.

In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court Thursday, Sustainable Property Holdings LLC, and FTS Master Tenant 2 LLC – both known as sPower – named Riverhead Town, the Riverhead Town Community Development Agency, the Town Board, Calverton Aviation & Technology, Luminati Aerospace, Triple Five Ventures Co., LLC, and Triple Five Real Easter I, LLC as defendants.

In court papers, sPower says it is the largest private owner of solar farms in the country.

Attorney Jason Stern of Melville-based Weber Law Group told the Town Board at a public board meeting on Jan. 17 that his client would offer the town more for the EPCAL property than the $40 million that Calverton Aviation & Technology is offering,

But Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, who took office in January, said that the town is locked in a contract with CA&T – a joint venture between Luminati and Triple Five – because the prior board had signed a letter of intent to sell the land to Luminati.

She said Friday afternoon that a State Supreme Court judge has rejected sPower’s request for a restraining order to stop a Qualified and Eligible Sponsor hearing with Luminati from proceeding. Ms. Jens-Smith said the Town was guided by its attorneys in determining that the Letter of Intent from Luminati still applies.

She said the Town Board must follow through with the Qualified and Eligible Sponsor hearing to determine if CA&T has the finances and ability to do the independent development plan it submitted for the EPCAL land before the Town Board can consider other offers.

“sPower has attempted to submit a higher and better offer for the EPCAL property, but the CDA has refused to entertain any other offers,” a press release issued Friday by sPower attorneys Morton Weber and Jason Stern read. The CDA is made up of the same members as the town board.

“The CDA’s explanation for its refusal is the CDA’s belief that it is prohibited from doing so based on a letter of intent signed with Luminati Aerospace LLC in March 2017,” according to the press release.

“However,” the press release states, “that letter of intent only applies to a proposed deal with Luminati and Luminati alone… The current proposed deal is with CA&T, a joint venture between Luminati and a subsidiary of Triple Five Worldwide Group (“Triple Five”) — in which Triple Five is the majority owner.”

Last March, the original letter of intent only mentioned Luminati, but the company subsequently entered a partnership with United Refining Energy Corporation., headed by billionaire John Catsimatidis, and after that deal fell apart, it entered a partnership with Triple Five, a Canadian company best known for building shopping malls.

“sPower has commenced this lawsuit seeking a declaration from the Courts that the letter of intent is invalid and therefore, the CDA must entertain other offers for the EPCAL Property,” the press release added. “sPower is confident that it will prevail on the merits of this action and is hopeful that it can ultimately work with the CDA to find the highest and best use of this uniquely important development property.”

Robert Hasday, the attorney for Luminati, said State Supreme Court on Feb. 1 denied sPower’s request for a temporary restraining order against the town that would have prevented the town’s Qualified and Eligible Sponsor hearing with SA&T from moving forward. The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27.

“The Court’s decision was made after deliberations about the local economic benefits from the development of a new aviation and technology center, including the employment of large numbers of highly paid skilled labor, compared to the operation of a solar farm, in which there are no onsite employees following construction,” Mr. Hasday said. “The Court also addressed the fact that this lawsuit was solely in the economic interests of the two solar companies and had nothing to do with the interests of taxpayers of the Town of Riverhead.”

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Photo: sPower, which owns this solar farm on Edwards Avenue, is seeking to buy 1,640 acres at EPCAL (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Featured Story
03/15/16 6:00am
03/15/2016 6:00 AM


Calverton resident Greg Fischer has officially filed suit against Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, saying he is “ineligible and disqualified to run/seek the Office of the President of the United States of America.” READ

Featured Story
03/11/16 9:00am
03/11/2016 9:00 AM

The Pulaski Street water tower, one of three on which Sprint Spectrum has cell equipment. Photo by Tim Gannon

Riverhead Town’s 2013 move to increase the rents its charges to cellular companies that lease space on town water towers has now resulted in yet another federal lawsuit against the Riverhead Water District claiming breach of contract. READ

Featured Story
09/03/15 2:57pm
09/03/2015 2:57 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |  Mason Haas in his office in Town Hall.

After hearing oral arguments Thursday afternoon, a Suffolk County Supreme Court judge deferred ruling on the lawsuit filed by tax assessor Mason Haas against the Town of Riverhead, allowing him to remain in his elected position as the judge reviews the case.


Featured Story
08/29/15 3:50pm
08/29/2015 3:50 PM


Riverhead Town Tax Assessor and Republican Committee chairman Mason Haas has sued Riverhead Town over its recently passed ethics law, accusing Town Board members and Supervisor Sean Walter of targeting him as political retribution. READ

07/15/2015 5:59 AM
Patricia Nugent, a fired elementary school teacher from the Shoreham-Wading River School District, has sued the district. (Credit: Facebook)

Patricia Nugent, a fired elementary school teacher from the Shoreham-Wading River School District, has sued the district. (Credit: Facebook)

The Miller Avenue Elementary School principal who was fired last year has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Shoreham-Wading River School District. (more…)