Councilman Cooks Lawsuit Has Merit Says Island Park School District Attorneys

There are several issues on our horizon that this Huntington Town Board needs to work together and find a resolution to these matters.  The first issue is the LIPA Tax Certiorari lawsuit which needs all hands-on deck working together and thinking outside the box to ensure the Town of Huntington and the Northport-East Northport School District not only resolves but wins this litigation.   Instead of automatically saying no to a possible solution, say maybe the lack of the approval from Public Authority Control Board could be the solution.   Why are the majority not doing this, the only Councilmember who seems to be fighting is Councilman Eugene Cook.

Councilman Cook vote no to settle the LIPA lawsuit. Wanted to get the best lawyers to fight, the board voted no. Throughout the years since 2010 Lipa lawsuit was filed Councilman Cook is the only one to think outside of the box. He brought his own lawsuit that now has Island Park School District jumping on board, because as the Law firm of Lamb & Barnosky, LLP of Melville stated in their letter to Judge Emerson that they too feel Cooks lawsuit has teeth and they want a bite of the same apple. Asking the judge for summary judgment and to add them to Councilman’s Cooks suit.

What is this LIPA lawsuit?

In 2010, LIPA and National Grid filed a tax certiorari action challenging the assessment on the Northport Power Plant (essentially, they are arguing that their taxes are too high). Their tax certiorari action seeks a 90% reduction in the assessed value of the Northport Power Plant. Since 2010, LIPA and National Grid have filed tax certiorari petitions each and every year including the 2019 tax year. Councilman Mark Cuthberson, Councilwoman Joan Cergol and Supervisor Chad Lupinacci all have been terrified and voted down anything that councilman Cook brought up to help the taxpayers of the town of Huntington. Note about Councilwoman Cergol before the election 2019 she was voting with Cook.  She told the tax payers she was fighting for them, yet she turned on them. Nicholas Ciappetta our Town Attorney will have to cover his ass when Cooks lawsuit blows “the settlement away”, will look like subpar legal advice by our town attorney.  Stating things like more money is not going to do anything on new lawyers or assessments of facilities, etc..

The History of Property Tax lawsuit.

  • Lawsuit- Filed by LIPA against town 2010
  • Councilman Cook files lawsuit March 10, 2020
  • Lawyer Marcantonio from Eatons Neck announced publicly at town board meeting (Feb,21 and March 10)Stated that Cooks Lawsuit has MERIT and not to settle
  • Town Attorney Nicholas Ciappetta stated Cooks Lawsuit is “Fools Gold” giving people false hope
  • Northport School District votes to settle July 2020
  • Town of Huntington votes to settle 4-1 Cook says no. Sept 2020
  • School Board Trustee David Stein calls Councilman Cook a “snake oil salesman”
  • October 15, 2020 Island Park SD who is being suing by LIPA for tax reduction sends letter to Judge Emerson to join Cooks lawsuit. (Read the letter below)

Councilman’s Cook lawsuit is very simplistic in its argument.

  1. LIPA under agreements signed throughout the years that LIPA agreed to.
  2. That any…. contract that is a project and does not have to do with day to day operations
  3. Must be approved by the PACB review and approve it. (Public Authority Control Board)
  4. As stated in Public Authorities Law *1020-b
  5. Lawsuit believes the tax case is a project very simple.
  6. A precedent of case AEP Resources Co vs Long Island Power Authority showed that this would be a project.

Read Councilman Cook Response to Lawsuit here 

Throughout the Covid-19 and town board meetings being virtual 4/5 of our town board is being investigated costing taxpayers in excess of $80,000 yet they cannot vote to do the right thing for the taxpayers like councilman Cook has done all along. Attorneys for Island Park SD see that Cooks lawsuit just maybe the medicine that Judge Emerson needs to throw out the settlement and give Cooks lawsuit the upper hand for the taxpayers relieve they deserve not LIPA. Remember we are still paying for Shoreham. Councilman Cook seems to be trailblazing for the taxpayers of Huntington not like other councils.  Councilman Cook is still fighting for Huntingtonians the ONLY true leader for his constituents.

Send emails and comments to:

Chad Lupinacci <CLupinacci@Huntingtonny.gov>,

Mark Cuthbertson <mcuthbertson@Huntingtonny.gov>,

Gene Cook <ecook@Huntingtonny.gov>

Ed Smyth <ESmyth@HuntingtonNY.Gov>,

Joan Cergol <jcergol@HuntingtonNY.gov>,

Andrew Raia <araia@Huntingtonny.gov>


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