08/01/13 12:00pm
08/01/2013 12:00 PM
DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | State officials said these Hurricane Sandy-damaged cars were illegally stored on grasslands at EPCAL.

ABC News investigators are reporting Sandy-damaged cars that were being stored at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and elsewhere are ending up on used car lots across the country.

According to ABC News, CarFax “estimates that over 100,000 Sandy-damaged vehicles are now back on the road across the United States.”

ABC’s “The Lookout” team went undercover and purchased one such car from a dealership in New Jersey.

The cars, tens of thousands of which were stored on both private and public property in Calverton for about six months, were total-loss cars that had been flooded out during Sandy and were being stored by auction companies.

An estimated 250,00 cars were ruined by the storm.

How do Sandy cars get out on the road? WATCH:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

06/29/13 1:00pm
06/29/2013 1:00 PM
EPCAL Sandy cars

TIM GANNON PHOTO | EPCAL’s western runway no longer covered with storm-damaged cars.

The runways at the Enterprise Park at Calverton are now car-free for the first time since mid-November, when Riverhead Town inked a deal to allow thousands of storm-damaged cars to be stored on the EPCAL runways until insurance companies could sell them to recyclers.

The cars were total-loss cars that had been flooded out during Sandy and were now owned by insurance companies, which contracted with auto auction companies that auctioned them off to licensed recyclers, such as Illinois-based Insurance Auto Auctions, which had a deal with the town.

While all this was bad news for the owners of those cars, and generated some controversy when thousands of vehicles began showing up for storage at EPCAL, the lease arrangements were good news for Riverhead Town’s finances.

“I’d say we made about $1.8 million all together,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday.

The town had stood to make about $2.8 million if IAA had sought the two three-month extensions allowed in the contract.

The most recent contract with IAA is set to expire at the end of this month, and the last of the cars, which were stored on the western runway at EPCAL are gone already.

The company initially entered into an agreement with the town on Nov. 15 to lease 52 acres at the unused western runway for $3,200 per acre per month for six months.

In addition to extending that deal to the end of June for a smaller area, the town also, along the way, leased out the eastern runway, a move that involved a private deal with IAA and Skydive Long Island in which Skydive, the only business using that runway, was compensated by IAA for the temporary shut down of the business.

In addition to the town leases, land owned by developer Jan Burman and land owned by Mavilla Foods, both at EPCAL, also were leased to companies storing Sandy-damaged cars.

Those areas are now car-free as well.

Unlike the town and Mavila deals, which involved storing the cars on concrete, the deal between Mr. Burman and Copart USA saw the cars stored on grass, which resulted in violations being issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Although Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, had criticized the town for storing the cars on the runways and taxiways at EPCAL, the DEC said it had no objection to storing cars on pavement.

[email protected]

05/05/13 5:00pm
05/05/2013 5:00 PM
EPCAL cars from Sandy

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sandy cars parked on the western runway at EPCAL.

Riverhead Town’s agreement to lease runway space at Enterprise Park at Calverton to a company storing flood-damaged cars from Hurricane Sandy may be scaled down soon.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Insurance Auto Auctions, the Illinois-based company that has been leasing town-owned runways at EPCAL to store flood-damaged cars, has asked that the town allow it to lease a lesser acreage and for a shorter time period than the three-month extension option that the contract calls for.

The alternative, Mr. Walter said, would be that IAA leaves altogether, and the town doesn’t make any additional money off the deal.

IAA inked a lease with the town Nov. 15 for 52 acres at the site’s western runway, which is inactive, for car storage. The company later added cars to 52 acres on the eastern runway through a Dec. 4 agreement with the town and the Skydive Long Island company, which had been using the runway and agreed to halt operations for a time to make room for the cars.

A third agreement on Dec. 27 allowed IAA to utilize about 7.8 acres of town-owned taxiways that run alongside the eastern runway that weren’t included in the second lease.

In each of the agreements, the town received $3,200 per acre per month from IAA. Vehicles have since been removed from the eastern runways and taxiway, but remain on the western runway.

Under the terms of the agreement for the western runway, IAA leased the property for six months, after which the company had an option for up to two three -month extensions, which would have totaled a full year.

But with the agreement due to expire May 15, IAA representatives have asked that rather than agree to a three-month extension of the full 50 acres, they instead lease just 15 agrees until the end of June, Mr. Walter said.

Mr. Walter said company officials will not agree to the full 50 acres, as per the original contract, because there aren’t that many cars left.

The proposed contract revision would enable the town to receive at least some additional revenue, he said.

“We’ve made $1.7 million from IAA so far,” Mr. Walter said Friday.

The exact amount of what the town would receive under the new proposal has not been determined, since IAA officials are debating leasing 10 acres instead of 15, and the end date has not been set, he said.

Had they stayed on the site for a full year at 50 acres, the town stood to make about $2.7 million.

The revised agreement would need to be approved by the full Town Board, Mr. Walter said, adding that the other board members have not yet reviewed the revised deal.

All the cars on the runway were deemed total loss cars that have been acquired by insurance companies, according to IAA. Those companies hire IAA, which holds weekly online auctions to sell off the flood-damaged cars to licensed auto recyclers or salvage shops.

Officials said more than 200,000 cars in the New York Metropolitan area were destroyed by Sandy floodwaters on Oct. 29, and flood-damaged cars were being stored at large parking lots all over Long Island following the storm by IAA and other auto auction companies.

The town paid a 5 percent broker fee on the money it received from IAA to Corporate Realty Services of Hauppauge, according to town records.

[email protected]

03/09/13 11:00am
03/09/2013 11:00 AM
Sandy damaged cars in Calverton

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Vehicles being transported from the EPCAL site last week.

Only one of two runways at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) still has Hurricane Sandy-damaged cars parked on it.

Insurance Auto Auctions, an Illinois-based company that has been storing flood-damaged cars on both runways at the former F-14 test site since the storm, has had all the cars removed from the eastern runway, which is still used for aviation.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sandy-damaged vehicles being transported from the EPCAL site last week.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The eastern runway at EPCAL has had all cars removed from it.

But while that might delight environmentalists who have raised concerns over the cars, that’s not the best news for Riverhead Town finances, since the town stood to make up to $2.7 million from IAA depending on how long the cars stayed there.

“I have a feeling they are going to be [completely] out of there by June, that’s what their goal is,” said Supervisor Sean Walter.

Mr. Walter said the cars being stored by Copart, another auction company, on grasslands at EPCAL owned privately by Jan Burman, have been moved off the grass and now are being stored on privately owned taxiways that run along the eastern runway.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO |  Sandy-damaged cars parked on grasslands at EPCAL in early January.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Sandy-damaged cars parked on grasslands at EPCAL in early January.

There still are cars being kept on the western runway by IAA. That runway is no longer actively used for aviation. The cars at EPCAL are all total-loss cars acquired by insurance companies, which then use the auction company to sell them for parts or to licensed recyclers.

SkyDive Long Island had been using the eastern runway but the company signed an agreement with IAA in December through which they were reimbursed for the loss of the runway use while cars were stored on the active runway for up to four months.

Following Hurricane Sandy, which flooded more than 200,000 cars in the tri-state area last year, the town agreed to lease 52.14 acres on the inactive 7,000-foot runway as well as taxiways to the west of the EPCAL property to IAA for six months, and then followed that up by agreeing to an arrangement with IAA and SkyDive Long Island that shut down the active 10,000-foot runway on the eastern part of EPCAL so that IAA could store more cars.

The first deal, using runways and taxiways on the western runway, will net the town over $1 million for six months, with an option for another six months, which could double that amount. The second deal using only the eastern runway but not the eastern taxiways, netted the town $670,000 with a four-month limit on how long the cars could stay.

Parts of the eastern runway’s taxiways, which runs along private properties, are privately owned by adjoining landowners, town officials said. The terms of any financial arrangement between Mr. Berman’s company and the taxiway owner or owners were unavailable. Mr. Berman could not be reached for comment.

The runway leases added a boost to the town’s reserves, and Mr. Walter said he’s still hopeful the town will net around $2 million from the cars in Calverton when all is said and done.

“I hope they stay till October but they’ve already cleaned off the 10,000-foot runway,” Mr. Walter said. The town will definitely get more than $1 million from the runway leases, he said, and possibly about $2 million.

The cars that were being stored on Mr. Burman’s land came as part of a private deal between his company and Copart USA, an auto auction company in Brookhaven hamlet. The town is not involved in that deal.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued violations to Copart and Mr. Burman for storing the cars on the grass. The DEC has said it had no objections to cars being stored on the runways or taxiways, which are paved, although Richard Amper of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society has called for the town to end that practice as well, saying rainwater runoff can carry pollutants from the cars into the groundwater.

Mr. Walter said he wasn’t sure exactly when the cars were removed from the grass, only that it happened “recently.”

In addition to the town and Mr. Burman, storm-damaged cars also are being stored on a paved parking lot on the south part of EPCAL, on land owned by Laoudis Of Calverton LLC, which owns the Mivila Foods facility there.

Representatives from IAA could not immediately be reached for comment.

[email protected]

03/01/13 8:00am
03/01/2013 8:00 AM
EPCAL Cars Sandy in Calverton


A 40-year-old South Carolina man transporting Sandy-damaged cars from the Enterprise Park at Calverton to Detroit was arrested Thursday after cops found him in possession of a loaded 9-mm handgun, Suffolk County police said.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

Freddie Foggie Jr. of Boiling Springs, S.C. was also driving on a suspended license at the time, police said.

The arrest comes about seven months after Mr. Foggie was charged in a fatal accident in North Carolina that killed a 72-year-old Florida man who was a prominent developer, according to charlotteobserver.com.

In that case, two cars being hauled by Mr. Foggie somehow came loose, fell off the truck and struck cars that were traveling behind, the Observer reports, citing a crash report.

News reports and court records show he’s due back in a North Carolina court March 7 for misdemeanor charges.

On Thursday, Mr. Foggie was stopped along the Long Island Expressway in Islandia, near the Exit 58 Park and Ride, about 5:50 p.m. when Suffolk County police officer Robert Copozzi noticed equipment violations on a Chevy pickup truck, which had a trailer hauling three cars, police said.

During a routine safety inspection, Officer Copozzi noticed the handgun, which was loaded with a high-capacity magazine, and arrested Mr. Foggie, also issuing him nine tickets for a score of safety violations.

The truck, owned by JK Trucking and Auto Sales in Mississippi, was taking the vehicles from a Sandy-damaged car storage site at the enterprise park and taking them to Michigan, Suffolk Police said.

Mr. Foggie is facing a third-degree criminal possession of a weapons charge and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.

He was scheduled to appear in First District Court in Central Islip Friday, officials said.

There are three sites at the EPCAL property — a former Grumman Corporation fighter jet testing facility — at which thousands of storm-damaged cars are being stored. Two are through agreements with Riverhead Town to store cars on town-owned runways at the property.

A third storage site is on grass on private property, at which the DEC has ordered the cars be removed over environmental concerns.

Those cars have not been removed, said Supervisor Sean Walter.

“They are [still] being stored illegally,” Mr. Walter said of the cars on private property, owned by Jan Burman.

“The DEC has ordered Burman to remove the cars, so hopefully the DEC will be victorious in getting these cars out of there,” he said. “He’s going to have to remediate that entire site, from what I understand, because it is one of those grassland areas that are supposed to be protected.

“So I don’t know how much that’s going to cost him.”

Mr. Burman could not be immediately reached for comment.

“There’s going to be a lot of this,” Mr. Walter continued about storm-damaged cars being sold off at out-of-state dealers. “There’s no possible way I’m buying a used car right now. These titles are going to wind up in other states, with their titles washed away.They’ll end up overseas and in Mexico.”

As for some the drivers leaving the sites, Mr. Walter also said many of them are taking to side roads in violation of weight limits.

“We’ve been all over these drivers; these 3/4-ton pickup trucks with the trailer are over our weight restrictions for a part of River Road, Wading River Manor Road,” Mr. Walter said.

“They’re writing tickets,” he said of town police efforts to curb the activity.

Read more about the cars at EPCAL

01/04/13 11:45am
01/04/2013 11:45 AM
Sandy-damaged cars being stored in Calverton by the thousands, Riverhead, N.Y.

A screen grab from Friday’s ‘Today Show’ segment on storm-damaged cars in Calverton.

NBC’s “Today Show” visited the some 15,000 to 18,000 superstorm Sandy-damaged cars being stored on property owned by Riverhead Town in Calverton.

The more than three-minute news segment that aired Friday featured helicopter shots of a sea of cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as seperate interviews with environmentalist Dick Amper of the nonprofit Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter.

“Sandy was a natural disaster nobody could do anything about. This is natural disaster in the making that’s simply an error of government,” Mr. Amper told interviewers.

Ever since the vehicles began arriving last month, environmentalists have contended that oil, gasoline and battery fluids could escape from the disabled vehicles and ultimately find their way into groundwater.

Mr. Walter countered on camera that the stored cars are like vehicles parked at shopping centers.

“This is no different than what you’d see at Smithhaven mall or Tanger mall,” he said. “This is probably less damaging to the environment.”

As previously reported by the News-Review, the bulk of storm-damaged cars are being stored on tarmacs on town-owned land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, or EPCAL, though other vehicles are being stored at or on nearby grasslands that are privately owned.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has ordered vehicles be removed from grass, pointing to environmental threats to protected species and groundwater.

The DEC has not objected to the town’s deals, which could amount to over $3 million over the course of a year.

The Calverton property was once used by the Grumman military contractor to test fighter jets until Grumman ended operations in the 1990s. The U.S. Navy later turned 2,900 acres over to Riverhead Town for economic development.

[email protected]