Riverhead officials testify in ‘Field Day’ concert lawsuit

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.