Not only is Airport Mobil closed, it’s gone

Just a portico remained as of mid-day Friday with Monday’s eviction looming.

As of Friday, only the portico that once shielded the gas pumps remained at Airport Mobil. — George Brennan

It looks like a remnant of a bygone era, something you’d see on a road that was once a thoroughfare until an interstate highway went in.

With just a couple of days until the lot has to be cleared by court order, crews hired by Michael Rotondo, the owner of Airport Mobil, were busy grading the lot. Only a portico and a massive fuel tank unearthed remained as of early Friday afternoon.

Even asphalt from the parking lot had been ripped up and piled into the back of an 18-wheeler to be hauled away. Every improvement made by Mr. Rotondo 20 years ago when he initially won the lease in the Airport Industrial Park has been demolished.

In the back and forth legal tussle between Mr. Rotondo and the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, he has been ordered to vacate the premises as of July 31.

An attempt in Dukes County Superior Court by the commission to freeze Mr. Rotondo’s assets failed, attorney Michael Mahoney said. “They lost that one,” he said.

Meanwhile, a motion for clarification of the eviction notice was filed Thursday, Liza Williamson, clerk magistrate at Edgartown District Court, said. Details of the motion were unavailable because it is in the hands of the judge, she said.

David Mackey, an attorney for the commission, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The remaining fuel tank on the grounds was scheduled to be moved to Chappaquiddick Friday at high tide, Mr. Mahoney said. The station’s two tanks have been donated to the Edgartown Fire Department by Mr. Rotondo for use as water storage on Chappy where there are no hydrants for fire suppression, he said.

The court battle began in late March after Mr. Rotondo filed suit after losing out on a 20-year lease for the gas station. He was outbid by Depot Corner by nearly $400,000 over the life of the 20-year lease.

Mr. Rotondo sought an injunction against the commission issuing the lease to Depot Corner citing what he called a faulty bid process, but a judge declined to issue an injunction saying that Mr. Rotondo had not met the burden of showing he would prevail in his suit against the commission.

Despite that, Mr. Mahoney said his client intends to continue with his lawsuit against the airport commission.

According to court documents and interviews with The Times, Mr. Rotondo was offered $250,000 to sell the gas station, store and car wash to Depot Corner, but refused. Instead he paid more than $100,000 to have the buildings demolished and the equipment taken away.

A fuel tank, unearthed at what used to be Airport Mobil, was scheduled to be moved to Chappaquiddick Friday where it will be used as a water storage tank for fire suppression.

Mr. Rotondo told The Times recently that he couldn’t hold his head up if he had taken the money from Depot Corner for the buildings and equipment.

Mr. Rotondo’s initial lawsuit remains active at superior court.

“There will be a lot of discovery in that case,” Mr. Mahoney said. “That’s going forward.”