Seek To Join Airport Suit

Julia C. Mead | February 19, 1998

A group of airport users led by the president of the East Hampton Aviation Association is attempting to participate in a lawsuit against East Hampton Town.

Claiming the Town Board would not mount a strong enough defense against the suit, which aims to stop the reconstruction of the town airport's main runway, the newly formed East Hampton Airport Property Owners Association has asked a State Supreme Court Justice to allow it to intervene.

Members of the association, including airport tenants, pilots, and business operators, announced this week they had hired Anthony Darienzo, a Huntington Station attorney, to represent them. Thomas Lavinio, president of the Aviation Association, and his daughter-in-law, Mary O'Connor, made the an nouncement.

Grant On Hold

The suit against the town was filed in January by Pat Trunzo 3d, a lawyer and former Town Councilman. It seeks to stop the runway project and void a 1994 airport layout plan deemed requisite to financial assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The F.A.A. has contributed several million dollars to renovate the airport, but has held up a $2.7 million grant to cover the design and construction costs of the runway project while the controversy continues.

Mr. Trunzo and other plaintiffs in the suit are members of the "blue-ribbon" panel created by Supervisor Cathy Lester to recommend whether to proceed with the runway reconstruction. A majority of the panel recently recommended the town go ahead with the project.

Mr. Darienzo said in a release that the Town Board "is unable to demonstrate that it is sufficiently committed to mounting a sincere defense."

"Without our intervention, the interests of airport users would not be given sufficient consideration," he added.