Chad Lupinacci, the Town of Huntington Supervisor, came out swinging in defense of his Town’s ongoing litigation against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and in defense of taxpayers in Northport, its school district, and the Town.
LIPA sued to reassess the tax valuation of the Northport Power Plant, and obtained a preliminary valuation that would cut LIPA’s taxes by 50 - 70 % - but then increase the property taxes of local residents by potentially over 50%.
Supervisor Lupinacci sent an open letter responding to a recent Newsday editorial, that was critical of his legal strategy. His letter is excerpted here.
“As a public official – a former school board trustee, State Assemblyman and now as Town Supervisor – I understand that criticism comes with the job, and I have never publicly responded to such. I have also limited my public comments regarding the LIPA litigation out of respect for the judge’s wishes, while LIPA has done the opposite, including taking out a full-page advertisement in a Northport newspaper this past week. The inaccuracies and baseless personal attacks contained within the Newsday Editorial Board's article, featured in the Sunday, April 28, 2019 print edition, entitled “Huntington should make a deal on Northport power-plant lawsuit,” however, require me to change my policy as they warrant a public response.
“It was certainly not surprising to see yet another one-sided piece by the Newsday Editorial Board on the Northport Power Plant litigation – Newsday has made no secret of its thoughts on this case and has been carrying LIPA's water for years. What did surprise me were the personal attacks that were leveled against my colleagues on the Huntington Town Board and me.
“The editorial described me as ‘all but invisible’ and said that I am floundering in my job. Not surprisingly, there were no facts to support these defamatory statements. Indeed, this past weekend our Ethics Code and the Town’s ability to curb illegal use of property and the abuse of short-term rental permits, improved public safety, protected our quality of life, and passed dozens of amendments to the Town Code to ensure that our laws are up-to-date.
“There is similarly no basis for the over-the-top assertion that the Town Board ‘is stupidly chasing its own tail, terrified of grassroot agitators from the Northport-East Northport school district....’ The Town Board is united in its determination to achieve a fair outcome to this matter for all Huntington residents and has devoted significant resources to the defense of the case, while actively engaging in settlement discussions. The Editorial Board’s reference to the residents of the Northport-East Northport School District as “agitators” is demeaning and beneath a serious journalistic newspaper. The people of Northport.