Board holds off on hiring ex-guv’s firm to market EPCAL

Town Board members took John Cahill (center) of The Pataki-Cahill Group on a tour of EPCAL Tuesday morning. 'There's tremendous infrastructure on the site,' Mr. Cahill said. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
Town Board members took John Cahill (center) of The Pataki-Cahill Group on a tour of EPCAL in December. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A divided Riverhead Town Board held off Wednesday on voting to authorize an agreement with Pataki-Cahill Group, a consulting firm headed by former Governor George Pataki, to market the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The board voted 3-2 to table the resolution, with the board majority saying they wanted to discuss it further. 

Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman John Dunleavy said they supported the agreement and opposed the motion to table. Councilmembers George Gabrielsen, Jim Wooten and Jodi Giglio voted for the tabling, which means the resolution will be taken up at a future meeting.

“All we’re asking for is further discussion,” Mr. Gabrielsen said, adding that the board will probably approve it at a future meeting.

Pataki-Cahill Group is led by Mr. Pataki and John Cahill, a former New York State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner who also was a chief of staff for Mr. Pataki. Mr. Cahill had visited EPCAL with Town Board members in December.

Pataki-Cahill isn’t a brokerage firm, but describes itself as a “specialized business development firm providing high-level strategic and tactical advice to companies in the energy, infrastructure, clean-tech, environmental and hard asset fields.”

The proposed contract would have given Pataki-Cahill a commission of up to 4.5 percent on land sales at EPCAL, and Pataki-Cahill planned to subcontract with Cushman and Wakefield, a major international commercial real estate firm.

Pataki-Cahill also planned to invest some of its own money into marketing EPCAL and trying to attract companies that match the area’s zoning.

Ms. Giglio said after the meeting that she felt the 4.5 percent commission was too high and she questioned why the board didn’t just hire Cushman and Wakefield.

Mr. Walter said the state recently hired Cushman and Wakefield at a 9 percent commission rate.

“We came up with 4.5 percent, which is a very good rate,” Mr. Walter said. “It’s not just real estate services. They are going to market EPCAL and vet different entities.”

He said the town had originally proposed 4 percent and settled on 4.5 percent.

In an interview before the meeting, Mr. Walter said that under the proposed agreement, the town would pay Pataki-Cahill Group, which would then pay Cushman and Wakefield.

Mr. Gabrielsen said he likes Pataki-Cahill and feels they have good connections in Albany, but he just wanted to discuss some of the details of the proposed agreement in executive session before voting for it.

Mr. Wooten agreed, but said he was voting to table out of respect for Mr. Gabrielsen and Ms. Giglio, who still had questions about it.

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