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Sense of Relief at Town Hall Over Referendum

But Taubman forces still have court case, and may bring more lawsuits.

Written by Joe Dowd

Oyster Bay leaders are expressing relief over their decisive victoryin Tuesday's land sale referendum, the latest battle in the mall war. 

There is still a lawsuit to be settled, the latest brought by Taubman to circumvent the town's opposition to a mega mall in Syosset. But the referendum may make that case easier to decide.

Taubman brought the latest suit in State Supreme Court in Suffolk, and the judge has not issued a written opinion on that case. The judge did say the town acted "lawfully, appropriately and reasonably," a phrase repeated many times by Supervisor John Venditto, in declaring its DPW land surplus and selling it to Taubman's competitor, Simon Properties. 

In a matter of weeks, the town will get a large infusion of cash from Simon, which owns Roosevelt Field and Walt Whitman and is Taubman's competitor.

Given the 2-1 margin of victory in the referendum vote, insiders think the judge would be unlikely to let Taubman's current suit to go forward. That may not stop Taubman: 

Taubman Issues Statement

Late on election night, Kyle Sklerov issued a statement from Long Island Jobs Now, one of Taubman's agents. 

“Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Oyster Bay, the Town and Simon’s misinformation campaign allowed them to slip their rotten deal past the public in a low turnout election," he said.

The final tally was 18,333 "Yes" to 9,480 "No." Newsday reported the combined figure represented 12 percent of the town's registered voters. It also took place in the middle of summer. Besides, the issue was difficult for many to understand and was thought by many to directly impact only the Syosset area.  

Sklerov declined further comment on what additional lawsuits Taubman would bring. The battle has gone on for 18 years.

"We will continue to push this case in the courts...," Sklerov said.

What's Next for the Mall Fight?

Here's the simplified short-term time frame, according to town Spokeswoman Marta Kane:
  • 1. The Nassau Board of Elections must certify the election results by early this week.
  • 2. Within 10 days of the certification, the town board must "execute the formal contract" with Simon.
  • 3. Shortly after that, Simon pays the town $27 million, with $3 million coming soon after. The "closing" on the property for up to eight years when the remainder of the $32.5 million is paid. Meanwhile, the town will continue to use their DPW facility off the Long Island Expressway.

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