With injunction ruling in, airport commission looks to move on

The Martha's Vineyard Airport Commission is moving forward with a new lease for the gas station after a court ruling backed the bidding process.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission expects to negotiate a lease with Louis Paciello, owner of Edgartown’s Depot Corner gas stations, after a Dukes County Superior Court judge denied an injunction, sought by the site’s longtime tenant, that sought to block the new contract.

The commission chose Mr. Paciello’s bid over three other companies, including the current occupant, Airport Mobil. Michael Rotondo, owner of Airport Mobil, filed suit claiming that the contract was unfairly awarded to Mr. Paciello and asking the court to block the award. On April 19, Judge Mitchell Kaplan sided with the commission and denied the injunction, saying Mr. Rotondo failed to demonstrate he could win his suit.

Ann Crook, airport manager, told the Times that she expects the lawsuit will continue, but that won’t stop the commission from issuing a new 20-year lease to Depot Corner for the gas station, car wash, and convenience store. Mr. Paciello’s bid will net the commission $400,000 more over the life of the lease than Mr. Rotondo’s.

If Mr. Rotondo wins the lawsuit, “he won’t get the lease, but he will get a settlement,” Ms. Crook said.

Michael Mahoney, an attorney for Mr. Rotondo, said his client is unsure what his next step will be.

To date, Mr. Paciello has not been able to come to an agreement with Mr. Rotondo to take over the gas station equipment. If they can’t come to one, Mr. Rotondo will have to remove the gas pumps, fuel tanks, and other facilities to make way for Depot Corner equipment, Ms. Crook said.

The commission is prepared to move quickly, within a couple of weeks, she said. “I’m willing to give more time to work out an agreement,” Ms. Crook said.

Coincidentally, Nantucket Airport has also put property used as a gas station out to bid. Thomas Rafter, the airport manager, said bids are due the middle of May. That station is also held by a longtime tenant, he said.