Calverton Aviation & Technology has responded to a 4 p.m. deadline imposed by Riverhead Town to notify officials whether it would submit additional financial information in regard to its proposal to purchase 1,640 acres of town-owned land at Enterprise Park at Calverton, according to Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and Stuart Bienenstock of Triple Five, the majority owner of CAT.
“CAT did send a response and they said they would provide some of the financials and that they would need 14 days to do so,” Ms. Jens-Smith said in an interview Friday afternoon just after the deadline. “They weren’t willing to provide everything we requested.”
Ms. Jens-Smith said the full board will have to discuss the response with the town’s financial advisors and attorneys to determine the next step.
Mr. Bienenstock also said the letter indicated CAT would provide some of what the town requested but not all of it.
“We believe this should give the town the information they need,” he said.
The information is being required in order for the town to determine if CAT is a “qualified and eligible sponsor,” a designation required in order to sell town land in an urban renewal area such as EPCAL.
The designation is meant to show if the company has the finances and ability to carry out whatever development plan they have for the site. CAT has submitted a one-page “intended development plan” that says its “emphasis will be on development of aviation, technology and supportive uses.”
Ms. Jens-Smith and council members Tim Hubbard and Catherine Kent said at the July 17 Town Board meeting that they did not feel the financial information submitted so far was enough.
If additional information is required, it would be provided in a non-public format and would be reviewed by a nationally-known auditing firm.
The letter did not address the issue of who would pay for the auditing firm, a cost some town officials said could range from $50,000 to $100,000.
“They kind of skirted around that, saying they would provide some information to the town and that if more is required, we can discuss that at a further date,” Ms. Jens-Smith said.
The auditing firm, if needed, would not be making a decision for the Town Board, but would instead provide a finding of facts on which the Town Board could make decision, she said. She feels CAT should pay for the auditing firm.
If the town finds that the information is insufficient, it could determine that CAT is not “qualified and eligible,” Ms. Jens-Smith said.