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Newsday (New York)
A company trying to build a Kings Park youth soccer training complex is in settlement talks with its landlord after suing him over alleged violations to their 48-year lease.
Manhattan-based tenant Prospect Sports Partners said in a March 6 complaint that landlord Anthony J. Santilli and a Santilli family trust had misrepresented the amount of valuable sand on their 44-acre former sand mine off Old Northport Road. Santilli lawyer Leonard J. Shore said in an April 19 filing that the accusation was false, and that the Santillis claimed they were owed back rent.
"We are continuing to talk," Shore said in an interview on Tuesday. Lawyers for the Santillis and Prospect Sports Partners are due to report their progress to a New York State Supreme Court judge June 12, Shore said. "Hopefully the court can assist moving the discussions forward."
Spanish superclub FC Barcelona announced plans last year to open a 10-field facility at the site in partnership with Prospect Sports, and Prospect Sports lawyer Timothy Shea Jr. said in March that company officials intended to open two fields this summer.
But work on the site appears to have stopped this spring, Town of Smithtown Assistant Planner Peter Hans said, and Town Engineer Mark Riley warned Prospect Sports in a May 9 letter that the company faced fines over the "potentially hazardous" condition of the property. The company had not taken any steps to control erosion or sediment loss at the site, clogging a nearby highway drainage system "on a number of occasions," he wrote.
Riley also repeated warnings town officials made last year that a slope along the northern portion of the site was dangerously "steep and unstable."
Shea and another Prospect Sports lawyer, Anthony Cummings, did not respond to requests for comment.
The hill figures prominently in the March 6 complaint Prospect Sports partner Kenneth Henderson signed against the Santillis. It describes a rental agreement for $300,000 a year, inclusive of real estate taxes and $2 per yard from the sale of excavated sand.
But half of the hill "had no sand and Defendant knew this" or negligently misrepresented the hill's condition, Prospect Sports said in the complaint. The company had a town permit to remove 110,000 yards of sand but removed only 42,000, stopping at the town's request, according to the complaint.
The complaint also accuses Santilli of badmouthing the project to Prospect subcontractors and of shutting off utilities at the site.
Shore, in his April 19 filing, said most of the company's allegations were false. He said his client did admit to shutting off utilities at the site, but only at his own construction trailer, which he was paying for.
A March 27 stipulation by state Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager, who is overseeing the settlement talks, called for Prospect Sports to make a $237,000 good faith payment to Santilli toward rent.
An FC Barcelona representative said in an email that times and locations for planned summer training camps had not yet been determined. "The schedule is not at all affected by the construction of the facility," she wrote.
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