After more than a year without a commercial car wash, Islanders can look forward to the reopening next month of the airport service station under new ownership. But a convoluted legal dispute over how the station’s lease was awarded last summer is still mired in court.

Edgartown businessman Louis Paciello told the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission last week he expects his new gas station and car wash will open sometime in August.

Construction was held up by permitting issues and ongoing litigation with the previous owner. — Ray Ewing

Commission chairman Bob Rosenbaum chided Mr. Paciello for building delays, but Mr. Paciello said construction, which began in April, was held up by permitting issues and ongoing litigation with the previous owner of Airport Mobil, who was forced to vacate the site after the commission did not renew its lease.

Airport Fuel Services Inc., which held the lease for 20 years, is suing the commission and Depot Corner Inc., Mr. Paciello’s business, which was awarded the lease in March 2017 after it was put out to bid. The commission and Depot Corner have both filed counterclaims against Airport Fuel. The suit also names John Kheary, who is described in court documents as the personal guarantor of Airport Fuel’s 1997 lease.

The lawsuit was filed in Dukes County superior court at the time the lease was awarded and has been slowly wending its way through the judicial process. The docket sheet contains 10 pages of entries, including various motions and interim orders, the most recent being a decision by the Hon. Gary A. Nickerson, an associate justice of the superior court, in late June dismissing some claims and letting others go forward. A status hearing is planned for August.

Airport Fuel, the previous tenant, sued to have the new lease invalidated, challenging the process by which the airport commission sought and reviewed bids. It lost a preliminary injunction that would have stopped Depot Corner from taking over the premises, but the court has yet to rule on the underlying legal issues involved.

The dispute over the service station has left the Island without a car wash. — Ray Ewing

For its part, Depot Corner is claiming that Airport Fuel interfered with its ability to conduct business by failing to promptly vacate the property after it lost its lease. The commission claims that Airport Fuel breached its contract and interfered with its ability to collect rent from the new tenant by continuing to occupy the space after its lease expired.

Airport commission chairman Robert Rosenbaum said total legal spending at the airport for the fiscal year just ended was $206,000, well over the $120,000 budgeted. He could not provide an immediate cost breakdown for how much was spent on the Airport Mobil case, but said: “I think it was certainly a significant piece of our legal expenses for sure.”

The dispute over the service station lease has left the Island without its only car wash since the middle of last summer. When it first lost its lease, Airport Fuel refused to close down. Ultimately, an Edgartown district court judge Thomas Kirkman ordered Airport Fuel to vacate the premises and remove all the improvements on it by July 31, which it subsequently did.

Landry Harlan contributed reporting.