While the Riverhead Town Board is still waiting on a recommendation from its ethics board as to whether Councilwoman Jodi Giglio must recuse herself from voting on the proposal to sell 1,640 acres of town land in Calverton to Calverton Aviation and Technology, another ethics complaint has been filed against her for many of the same reasons.
Riverhead resident Ellen Hoil, who’s an attorney, last week filed an ethics complaint against Ms. Giglio with the state Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau. Ms. Holi is also a member of the Riverhead Democratic Committee and made contributions to the Suffolk County Democratic Committee of $25 in 2017 and $250 in 2018.
The first ethics complaint was filed by the Coalition Against EPCAL Housing on April 12, and it was filed with the town ethics board, whose members are appointed by the Town Board.
Both complaints deal with Ms. Giglio’s four-hour March 12 private meeting in New York City with members of CAT and Triple Five Group, it’s majority owner, to discuss that company’s plans for the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
Ms. Hoil wrote, “The matter has since been placed before the Town of Riverhead Ethics Board. However, the board is only an advisory body, and their decisions or recommendations are not binding. Due to the fact the concerned residents of the Town of Riverhead have no other true recourse but to file a complaint such as this, which I hereby file with your office.”
Ms. Hoil identified herself as a member of “Riverhead Concerned Citizens for Transparency.”
Her complaint alleges that Ms. Giglio’s trip to Manhattan to meet with principals of CAT is a violation of the town Ethics code as well as a violation of the Code of Ethics in the state’s Public Officers Law, and violates the town Community Development Agency’s own “Code of Ethics for Directors and Officers.”
Ms. Hoil wrote that at the end of the Feb. 27 public hearing to determine if CAT was “qualified and eligible” to buy and develop the land according to a plan approved by the town, representatives of CAT asked if they could be given a copy of the questions that board members would be asking during the second public hearing on March 19th.
“Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, at that time and on the record, emphatically stated that they could not and would not be given any access to questions prior to the next portion of the meeting.”
Ms. Hoil said the private meeting raises “suspicion that she has released confidential information related to a pending transaction with the CDA. It is also an allegation that Ms. Giglio has by her conduct given a reasonable basis for the suspicion that” CAT has “gained the ability to unduly enjoy her favor.”
Ms. Giglio has maintained that she did nothing wrong, and was only getting information needed to vet the proposal, and she has accused the supervisor of playing politics.
“If the supervisor wants to abuse her office for political purposes, that’s on her conscious,” she said by email. “The Riverhead voters are educated and will respond when the time is right. I am focused on the business of Riverhead government and representing the taxpayers to the best of my ability.”
Ms. Giglio had previously said that Ms. Jens-Smith sought to appoint Ms. Hoil to a seat on the town ethics board.
Ms. Jens-Smith said she and Councilman Tim Hubbard had interviewed Ms. Hoil for a position on the ethics board earlier this year, when the person holding that position, Jeanmarie Costello, incorrectly thought her term was expiring this year, and planned to step down. When she later realized her term was not expiring, she withdrew her resignation, and there was no opening, according to Ms. Jens-Smith. Candidates for other town positions also were interviewed at that time, she said.
The next meeting of the town ethics board is July 10, she said.
Ms. Hoil said Tuesday that she has not heard back from the Attorney General’s office yet.
The Town Board had indicated it will not vote on the V&E designation until it gets a recommendations from the ethics board.