Friday, May 31, 2013

Lash Kia Auto Dealership in Greenburgh to Close

One of our readers relayed a story he was having with his car’s front end. He contacted Kia USA to see if the parts were covered under the Kia (and Hyundai) 100,000 mile warranty. Kia USA assigned him a case number back in April, when he was also told they would have to get back to him as to the warranty coverage. You would think this would be a simple yes or no answer, all the while hoping for a “yes” and expecting a “no”. They called him back and said “Yes, it is covered under the warranty.”

He called Lash Kia, not the dealership where he bought the car and they told him they needed to inspect the car to see what parts would be needed. This was a reasonable request. The only limitation was that they could not see him for three weeks! While Kia’s have certainly increased in popularity, there cannot be that many of them needing service causing such a backup. He waited the three weeks and dropped his car off on May 20th. He was told to bring the car to the same location as the showroom. Upon arrival, he found the service department was at a different location. After finding the second location, the service person stated he had no appointment in his book. Tempers rose but remained controlled and he left his car for the evaluation. He was told he would receive a call when the inspection was done. He received no call back.

He called the Lash Kia service department and spoke with Tom, who told him they would have to order the parts. He could pick the car up and use it until the parts came in and then bring it back for the repairs. He retrieved the car and called every couple of days inquiring if the parts had arrived or not. On the last day of May, Friday the 31st he called again. He was told that Lash Kia was no longer doing Kia service and only Volkswagen service. Another call to Kia USA.

Speaking with Todd at Kia USA confirmed that Lash Kia is in fact losing their Kia dealership as of June 1st. So while the award winning and well-designed automobiles from South Korea are becoming more and more popular, it seems that not enough people in Greenburgh and the immediate surrounding area are interested in their cars. Lash Volkswagen is apparently not included in the closing of the Kia dealership.  Kia USA recommended West Nyack Kia or Yonkers Kia as an alternative dealership for current and future Kia owners. We are sorry to see any business leave, but based on our reader’s lament, it’s no surprise.

News Blackout Continues

ABG attended the Westchester County Republican Convention last night at the Manor House in Hastings. As an aside, the parking lot directly across the street remained closed, forcing all attendees to scramble for the few spaces available in the Manor House’s main lot or park precariously on the side of the street. With an official start time posted for 8PM, the main event didn’t start until 8:45PM. Does anything start on time anymore? 

After seats were finally taken, Westchester Republican Chairman began the meeting. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance during these events, although the Democratic Convention seemed less structured. Most of the evening was dedicated to nominating County Legislature positions, the County Clerk candidate and finally the County Executive candidate. Journal News columnist Phil Reisman was in attendance, probably trying to guarantee a position within the Republican party as his former colleague Matt Richter had done. Also there from the paper was reporter Elizabeth Ganga. Several other media representatives were there as well.

During the nominations process, District Leader James “Jimmy” Chism, made the motion to close the non-existant nominations for County Legislator. Before Mr Colety could proceed, he was interrupted by Mr Ed Ciafone, know as a Yorktown Watchdog, who objected, stating this would allow democratic legislator Mike Kaplowitz to run unopposed. He shouted, “We should not let Mike Kaplowitz, a democrat, run unopposed! I’d like to nominate Gregory Kane, who ran against him before and got 44% of the vote!” Stunned, Colety quickly recovered and told Ciafone his motion was out of order. Then Ciafone challenged Chism demanding he second Ciafone’s motion to prove he was being honest. Chism remained silent. Colety stated Ciafone could nominate Kane on June 7th but his motion was out of order. Ciafone stormed out of the event.

Shortly thereafter, Colety announced they had a special guest and they were going to change the order of the schedule to accommodate County Executive Rob Astorino. Nancy Meehan was called upon to make the nominating speech for the CE. Nancy was appointed to and works for the Board of Elections. Her husband Robert, former Mt Pleasant Supervisor, is the County Attorney, appointed by Astorino. This seemed to be a great night for family and friends.

Astorino made a predictable acceptance speech and received several standing ovations. He stated he couldn’t have won without all the voters from all the parties in 2009. He pledged to continue the fight against Washington DC’s intrusion into Westchester’s housing and zoning, maintaining his other pledge to “Stop the tax madness”. He touched on the lack of tax increases while he’s been in office but not the cuts that had correspondingly been made.

With all of this happening, the Journal News and other media outlets chose once again to ignore the event and write nothing about it. Sadly, we see the news blackout continuing in Westchester, ignoring what they choose and quite possibly believe might hurt their progressive agenda in the region. And yet, these same news organizations have no issue attending the event, eating the free food and having a drink or two without offering even a small paragraph. Why the news blackout for certain events and not others remains a mystery. Although, it is becoming clearer day by day.

What do we want in our Town, County and State? You’ll have a chance to decide.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Greenburgh News Blackout

We reported the official announcement of Robert “Bob” Bernstein’s candidacy for Greenburgh Town Supervisor in our previous post. There were numerous members of the press in attendance. Amazingly, in our 24-7-365, internet enabled, nobody sleeps society, ABG was the only one to report this. And, we did it last night, almost immediately after his announcement. Why haven’t the other media outlets reported this?

It is well understood that the media is not only friendly to Mr Feiner, but they couldn’t offer him better coverage if he was their owner and publisher! The Journal News, a daily newspaper with the corresponding Lohud.com website, usually posts breaking news and follows it with a story in the paper. Greg Shillinglaw, a reporter from the Journal News, was at the announcement. So were reporters from the Scarsdale Inquirer and the Greenburgh Daily Voice, neither of which published the announcement. In all fairness to the Scarsdale Inquirer, they are a weekly newspaper that goes to press on Wednesday, is delivered on Thursday. So, we understand they may not have a published story. But they do have a minor presence with a shell of a website that could have had a small story posted.

Another interesting point that we touched on was the need to have a police presence at the abandoned site. With about a hundred or so people in attendance, most car pooled and parked next door in the lot that divides the former Franks parking lot and the driving range’s parking lot. When Mr Feiner held his press-conference there a week earlier, he had no issue with unlocking the gate, letting people in and utilizing the police for protection. Quite the double-standard!

It is also well known that Mr Feiner will not get much, if any, negative press for anything he does that’s wrong – except from Mr Dave Wilson of Tax Watch fame, a writer with the Journal News. Wilson has gone after Mr Feiner’s lease-busting, racist deal with County Legislator Michael Smith, formerly the President of the Valhalla School Board, who fought to secede from Greenburgh rather than allow the 108 affordable apartments be built on the Westchester Community College campus. While Mr Astorino, Mr McCormack, Mr Smith and others have supported Mr Feiner’s efforts to tear down the sight, and eliminate low income housing, the state saw fit to keep it as intended: for housing.

Bob Bernstein is a former President of the Edgemont Community Council and, maintains in part, the ECC website. We are not affiliated although we share a number of common goals. Regardless of whether the news blackout is legitimate or simply that several reporters banged in sick last night, we’re disappointed they chose to go down this road. We also realize that like the Town Board who refuses to answer questions raised by residents, they are just as guilty by omission. We will keep the information flowing to our loyal readers.

What do we want in our Town? You’ll have a chance to decide.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bernstein Announces Candidacy at Contaminated Site

Surrounded by about a hundred or so people, and in an effort to play off the symbolism of what’s wrong with the Town of Greenburgh, Edgemont resident and attorney Robert Bernstein announced his candidacy for Greenburgh Town Supervisor at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. As you may be aware, this is the embattled location of the former Frank’s Nursery, known to be contaminated with many chemicals, too many to mention now. 

Interestingly, when Mr Feiner wanted to hold a press conference here announcing his desire to award the sale to GameOn 365, the site’s gates were unlocked and anyone wanting access was allowed entry. Mr Bernstein was not afforded the same courtesy. In fact, police had been posted there to forbid entry! Why do you think that is? Is it possible Mr Feiner “suggested” to the police that access should not be allowed? Undaunted, everyone parked nearby and walked onto the property anyway to where Mr Bernstein was. 

Throughout Mr Bernstein’s speech, he touched on costly issue after issue that have been caused by Mr Feiner and the current Town Board. After highlighting troubling issues created by Mr Feiner such as Fortress Bible Church, WestHelp, GameOn 365, etc., Mr Bernstein would say to the crowd, “You know this is wrong”, repeating the phrase, “You know it and I know it!” The crowd was receptive and responded enthusiastically to his message. Also in attendance in the back of the crowd were several supporters of the GameOn 365 proposal.

Mr Bernstein explained this primary race would be difficult but with everyone’s help he was ready to launch the battle for the Democratic nomination. He explained he is up against Mr Feiner’s well-honed political machine, which after 22 years is also extremely well-funded. It starts! 

It’s no secret that Mr Feiner has been ignoring the Town’s infrastructure, crippling our Town Departments, killing employee morale, skirting the law to benefit developers and costing residents and taxpayers millions of dollars in bad deals, lawsuit judgements, duplicate departments and waste! After 22 unimpeded years, it’s time for a change.

What do you want in our Town? It’s time for you to decide.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Town Cowards

The last Greenburgh Town Board meeting found the G10 as well as other seeking answers. They left with none. The residents in the room sought apologies for those residents who were treated rudely or spoken about in derogatory ways by the Board. They left with none. In fact, the daily newspaper even printed some of these same derisive comments. Why? Shouldn’t the “reporter” offer a balanced and even handed story? Perhaps in times past. But what does it say about a Town Board who cannot own up to their actions and simply admit wrongdoing and apologize? Of course, promising to no longer perform the same actions would really be what residents seek. By not doing any of these we see them for what they really are: cowards.

Growing up and attending school, we all knew who the school bullies were. We avoided them whenever possible, sometimes acquiescing minimal submission to avoid greater pain. This time, in Greenburgh, the bullies are those we would have normally avoided: the Town Board. Bill, the founder of ABG, had nicknames for the Town Board members. While they certainly may have accurately ABG described those members, we will no longer use them. It’s akin to how Mr Feiner treats the residents and how he has slowly manipulated his Town Board members to perform. Wanting to be part of the group and be up to speed as quickly as possible, newest Board member Ken Jones went above and beyond his indoctrination, shouting at a resident to, “Sit down! Sit the F*** down!” Cowards.

Speaker after speaker took to the podium describing the poor behavior of Mr Jones and this time the Board all remained silent. Resident upon resident continued requesting an apology for the abhorrent behavior and endured continued silence. In the corporate world this behavior would result in a trip to the Human Resources Department, probably some intense retraining and the event would be recorded into the person’s work file – haunting that person’s career ad infinitum. Or, they would be terminated as the company maintains a zero tolerance policy toward this type of behavior. The latter would more than likely be the action of choice as one travels up the corporate ladder. The Greenburgh ladder is markedly different. ABG is pretty sure whenever this Board wants to “high-five” each other, they adjourn to Executive Session! Cowards. 

Hiding in Executive Session to openly discuss topics that would either embarrass themselves or prove admission of illegality of their actions has grown into a disappointing norm for this Board. Once they learned that this “out” would get them off the hook, they began to abuse it. Mr Feiner had developed a new phrase about two years or so ago, paraphrasing, “There is a small group of people who are against everything we try to do.” Once he had a comfort level with it, he must have sent a memo to the Town Board members to use it as well. Dutifully, his scribes at the daily newspaper began to run the quote often. Now, however, his new catch-phrase is, “This is bid-rigging.” The G10 has taken to their new catch-phrase, “You owe the people of Greenburgh an apology.” But again, no apologies. Cowards. 

At the last Town Board meeting, Mr Jones moved to hold over the vote for the sale of the former Frank’s Nursery at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road for a week. Smart move. Why did he make this motion? Only his conscience, attorney and possibly a spiritual leader will ever know for sure. But Mr Feiner’s actions regarding the proposal from GameOn 365 from inception to this point, have been discussed ad nauseum by the G10 and others. In fact, the illegalities and wrong-doings were pointed out by Town Supervisor candidate Robert “Bob” Bernstein to Mr Feiner and the Board. The Elm Street Sports’ attorney pointed them out. Retired Justice Herb Rosenberg made the case. Residents and speaker after speaker continued the education for this Town Board in desperate need of, if not legal, at least moral, assistance. It’s not as though they missed one comment as they left for the restroom. Their insistence on maintaining their bravado and the status quo with this gift to another developer and ignoring advice from so many is troubling. It’s the school yard bullies thinking they will never be deposed from the swingset. Cowards.

ABG recognizes all too well that Mr Feiner has become a political machine in Greenburgh. His failed bid for Congress years ago proved then that he was a small fish in a big pond incapable of moving beyond our Town – unfortunately. Now however, as the big fish in a small pond, he’s crafted a niche for himself that is imploding. His Ponzi-like schemes cannot support each other enough any more. School-age reporters are easily lost as Mr Feiner dazzles them with his deflection skills, oblivious that they are being “conned”. The majority of the Democrats appear to have had enough of his bullying, proven by their overwhelming nomination of Mr Bernstein for Town Supervisor. Regardless of the winner in the November election, the G10 will remain ever vigilant. ABG is starting to see more residents and beleaguered taxpayers at Town Board meetings. They are becoming more vocal and involved. The schoolyard bully syndrome from the Town Board is wrong for Greenburgh. Their ruse of wearing down concerned citizens is not working any more. Cowards.

What do we want in our Town? You’ll have to decide.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bernstein To Formally Announce Candidacy

Bernstein to Announce Candidacy for Town Supervisor at 
Frank’s Nursery on Wednesday

Greenburgh, N.Y. – Bob Bernstein will formally announce his candidacy for Greenburgh
Town Supervisor at a press conference to be held at Frank’s Nursery on Wednesday, May
29 at 7: 30 p.m.

Mr. Bernstein was endorsed for the job overwhelmingly last week by the Greenburgh
Democratic Party at its annual convention. Mr. Bernstein received the support of 54
percent of the district leaders while 22-year incumbent Paul Feiner received only 35
percent.

Frank’s Nursery is owned by the Town, but rather than sell the property, the current
supervisor tried to lease the property to a startup that began negotiating secretly with him
to get the land before the Town actually acquired it. When the Town was sued for
violating the law, the supervisor dropped the idea of leasing the property and said he
would sell it instead. Last week he announced he would sell the property for $3 million –
$500,000 less than a bid offered by an established Ardsley based sports company.
“By insisting on doing a deal with a company that has offered substantially less than a
competing bidder the supervisor is walking right into yet another lawsuit against the
Town, which the unsuccessful bidder has said he will bring,” Mr. Bernstein said. “The
likelihood of the cash-strapped Town seeing any money from the sale is remote at best –
and this could have been avoided if the supervisor played by the rules.”

Mr. Bernstein graduated from Cornell University and the University of Virginia School
of Law. He has lived in the Edgemont section of Greenburgh for over two decades. He
worked on behalf of taxpayers by successfully intervening with Dobbs Ferry justice Herb
Rosenberg to defend the Town against a $4.6 million lawsuit filed by the Valhalla School
District and backed by the current supervisor. Mr. Bernstein intervening recovered $1.1
million in illegally transferred funds.

Mr. Bernstein has also worked to ensure the Town honors the terms of the lease signed
with Westchester County regarding the 108 apartments at WestHELP requiring the 108
apartments be used for affordable housing. He opposed the current supervisor’s efforts to
have apartments destroyed and was recently honored by Greenburgh/White Plains
chapter of NAACP for his efforts with regard to WestHELP.

The town-wide Democratic Primary for Town Supervisor will be held Tuesday,
September 10.
Contact:
Gil Kaminer
Email:
gk1411@aol.com
Phone:
(914) 776-3379
Email: robertbrucebernstein@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day: It is the Veteran


It is the VETERAN
not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN
not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN
not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN
not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble. 

It is the VETERAN
not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. 

It is the VETERAN
not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.

God bless the VETERAN!

Please consider making a donation to this or another very 
worthy charity through their website to help support our
veterans: www.specialops.org

Questionable Ties?

It has been proven that GameOn 365 had furtive meetings with Mr Feiner about the property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road before the Town acquired it through foreclosure. Why secret meetings were taking place prior to any Town ownership remains another of the Town’s great mysteries? Why a genuine RFP was not offered for the property as opposed to an illegal lease remains unanswered? Only Mr Feiner knows for sure. As the faux-proponent of “open government”, the clandestine operations by Mr Feiner and a sullied Town Board must end, whether by voters proving they’ve had enough or by a non-partisan investigations.

ABG received an email from a concerned resident (name withheld upon request) via their civic association questioning if GameOn 365 could have ties to the Colombian government? This would normally not be of concern except that the entire GameOn 365 proposal sees like just a scheme initiated or at least carried out by Mr Feiner behind close doors. This makes every component of this deal suspect. Here’s why we believe this email raised concern for the citizen taxpayers of Greenburgh.

The contract for the sale with GameOn 365 appears to be written by the GameOn 365 law firm. When asked by several residents during the last Town Board meeting as to who the creator was of the contract between the Town of Greenburgh and GameOn 365, Town Attorney Tim Lewis stated that he, “...had a major role in it.” Retired Court Justice Herb Rosenberg pointed out the initials ‘C & F: 2143796.2’ at the lower right-hand corner of the contract. He explained it is where the law firm creating the document places their ownership identifier when they craft a legal document. We expected Mr Lewis to invoke the ever-popular “answers-at-the-end-of-meeting” coined response. Rather, there was simply no reply from Mr Lewis.

In the Town’s contract with GameOn 365, under Executive Counterpart, there are references on page 7(b)/(iii), that indicate it is a violation of the law if the “Purchaser is not a person or entity with whom United States persons or entities are restricted or prohibited from doing business under regulations of the Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) of the Department of the Treasury (including those named on OFAC’s specially designated and blocked persons list) or under any statute, executive order (including the September 24, 2001, Executive Order Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism), or other governmental action and is not and will not engage in any dealings or transactions or be otherwise associated with such persons or entities.” 

An email from the Westchester Field House, the parent organization of Game On 365, dated May 22, 2013, to an “asandoval@colombiaun.org” stated that, “We are excited to announce that the Greenburgh Town Board has agreed to authorize the sale of the former Frank’s Nursery site to GameOn 365 LLC.” The rest of the email goes on to espouse their plans for the contaminated site. We went online to see what “colombiaun.org” was and we were taken to the Colombian United Nations web site. Further investigation failed to locate any person named Sandoval on that site, although we realize not every employee for the Colombian government would necessarily be listed. The interesting question posed by the resident is the relationship between GameOn 365 and the Colombian government, if any?

ABG is not saying there is anything illegal being done here between GameOn 365 and the Colombian Consulate and the purchase of Town property. Certainly, since much, if not all of this proposal began under the cover of darkness and has remained shrouded in secret deals scripted behind closed doors, it would make sense that all parties “come clean”and disclose any and all relationships. ABG is not trying to sound like conspiracy theorists, but hopes to finally get some honest, if not full, disclosure. We know not to trust Mr Feiner based on his previous actions and and so too are suspect of GameOn 365 as they were both were apparently willing to collude a covert deal outside the normal channels.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor candidate Mr Robert Bernstein suggested several ways for the Town Board to get out from under this debacle. This property sprouts more questions than Jack’s infamous beanstalk each time it gets discussed. And throughout the Town we witness more projects being green-lighted by this same Board with reckless abandon. A Town Board laden with non-practicing and practicing attorneys without any business experience seems to struggle at every juncture as to how to do the right thing for the taxpayers. The former Councilwoman and Honorable Sonya Brown, referred to the residents as the Board’s employers during her time at the podium. This Board has forgotten this crucial point of information. Back room deals, purchaser-gifted contracts, 13-year unsecured loans with below-market interest rates and the like continues to grow. In financial advertisements we’ve all heard, that, “Past performance is no indicator of future results,” the indicators in Greenburgh are starkly and disappointingly different!

Is this really what we want in our Town? You decide.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Reflection


As we enjoy each other’s company, barbecues, and perhaps a day off
from work, let us pause and remember that we are able to do these 
things because of so much that was sacrificed by a special group of
individuals. This Memorial Day, ABG salutes those heroes for
protecting the rights and freedoms of us all. 
.

A Night For Apologies

Greenburgh residents learn of more and more decisions (re: deals) made in back rooms not open for public consumption. The “working relationship” Mr Sheehan touted at the Democratic nominations for the Town Board in his nomination acceptance speech was, frankly, just good speech-writing that pandered to an already compliant crowd. What we learn over and over is that the Town doesn’t really need a Supervisor for life when there is a bureaucracy in place for life. Of course only having people of the same ilk, referred to as inbreeding in other circles, begets the abnormalities nobody claims to find acceptable. And yet, it’s the chosen course of Greenburgh politics under Mr Feiner’s administrations.

But the Democratic majority experimented and veered down a different road soliciting new leadership. With a wide percentage difference and mired in the same political rut for years, the District Leaders chose to divert their political vehicle, down a different and albeit better road for the Town. With a gap of almost twenty percentage points, they decided to endorse Mr Robert Bernstein of Edgemont for Greenburgh Town Supervisor. While we missed Mr Bernstein’s acceptance speech, we are sure it would have been an inclusive, honest and forward-moving offering a better future for our Town. And while Mr Bernstein seemed the clear leader in this race, other “wagons” were becoming unhitched.

There was a race for Town Clerk that pitted Mr Feiner’s hand-picked and cultivated choice, Judith Beville against County Legislator Alfreda Williams’ hand-picked candidate, Sharron Fantuzzi. Ms Fantuzzi had previously lost the nomination once before to Ms Beville. Williams was the Greenburgh Town Clerk prior to being ousted by Mr Feiner and replaced with Ms Beville. Could this be a revenge scrimmage? You decide. While there is no track record for Ms Fantuzzi or any reason to vote for her, Ms Beville has a track record. One of the things ABG has consistently bemoaned is Ms Beville’s inability to only do her job during Town Board meetings. The Board condones her active participation during these meetings. She is not a Town Board/Council member, should not be discussing issues pertaining to the Board and should remain silent. Obviously, since she unequivocally supports Mr Feiner, she is encouraged by him to speak. What no one has told either of them during all this entire time, is that hers is a non-speaking role!

The Town Board meeting on Wednesday night hailed more participants than just the G10 in attendance. Mr Feiner’s campaign presentations delayed the start of the meeting by about a half an hour. Once the meeting began, and got past some of the usual crowd-thinners, they opened the 3-minute public speaking portion of the evening. It was led by Mr Tom Bock, whom you may recall was the evening’s final speaker at the last meeting when Councilman Jones shouted at another resident who approached the dais to, “Sit down! Sit the F*** down!” To which, several Board members said in unison the meeting was over – actively limiting the public’s free speech. They had unsuccessfully tried to end the meeting earlier without allowing Mr Bock his time to speak and this gave them the excuse they wanted! In fact, at the following Work Session these same purveyors of “open government” discussed multiple ways to limit and even do away with the public involvement and comments – a very sad state of affairs.

Mr Bock asked the Board for answers he posed to them from at least three previous meeting about the possible set back violations by Westhab? He then asked how much money the Democratic party was being charged for using the Town Hall for their nominations meeting on Tuesday night? He stated he was waiting for an apology from Mr Feiner for calling him a racist at the previous years Democratic meeting, to which several Democrats in attendance took exception to Mr Feiners statement. Mr Bock was also waiting for an apology for being cut off during his allotted five minutes at the last meeting. He then continued to discuss a letter Mr Feiner sent to residents on Old Kensico Road in which Mr Feiner attacked Mr Bock and asked slanted questions as to the neighborhoods desire to install sidewalks suggesting Mr Bock wanted it only at their expense. Mr Bock stated this letter was in the identical format of the illegal referendum Mr Feiner filed for the last election seeking a specific result for the desired outcome he sought for the GameOn 365 deal.

Mr Hal Samis, whom you may remember was the cause of the outburst of profanity from Mr Jones, took to the podium and apologized to Mr Jones and the Board for any stress he may have caused them by his actions. He offered to shake hands with Mr Jones and began approaching the dais with his outstretched hand. Mr Lewis, Morgan and possibly the entire Board loudly told Mr Samis not to approach the dais, and stayed short of yelling, “Sit the F*** down!” While the entire episode last week may have been blown out of proportion and Mr Samis rebuffed, at least Mr Samis offered an apology and a gesture of civility. Why would the the Board not accept it?

The repetitious points of subsequent speakers seemed to find fault with the amateurishly proffered contract the Town claims to have written. In fact, Town Attorney Tim Lewis stated he had a major part in the contract. Retired Justice Herb Rosenberg, held up the contract while at the podium and asked Mr Lewis to confirm that he had participated in the writing of the contract. Mr Lewis corroborated that he had in fact worked on the contract. Then Justice Rosenberg highlighted that GameOn 365’s law firm’s name was on the document where law firms usually put their identifying information. Mr Rosenberg said it was shameful that this was the product of our law department. Mr Lewis sat silent.

Ms Lynette Bass, a Director with the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association, who was unable to attend the meeting, submitted a letter requesting it be read into the record during the public comment session. This is something that happens with regularity Town Board meetings. But since Ms Bass has challenged Mr Feiner and the Board for not responding to her numerous requests for the Board to meet with the WWCA, Town Attorney Tim Lewis determined her letter was too lengthy to be read. This caused a verbal outcry from the residents in attendance. It was determined that Mr Rod O’Shea, a Democratic District Leader and Edgemont neighborhood leader would read her letter for at least the three minutes allotted. ABG should point out that Ms Beville has always read submitted letters aloud and the Board was previously not concerned with their length. But since the Board’s last work session, they felt emboldened to restrict public participation especially during the public comments sessions. The “public” was having none of it!

The public was also not having any of the silent treatment that underscores the true lack of “open government” from Mr Feiner’s administration. Another speaker, Bill Betwarda, Vice President of the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association, suggested the Town Board could learn much from the young man they honored at the start of the meeting. Hal Samis was the first to ask that the GameOn 365 contract vote be held over as there is much to discuss. He then used the balance of his 3-minutes to detail why and discuss other financial points. Ed Krauss, another critic of the Board, detailed Mr Feiner’s criticisms of character assassinations, and explained that character assassinations are not character assassinations if you are telling the truth about the person. Not seen off camera, was some “seat-squirming” as Mr Krauss made that statement. The truth must hurt. He proceeded to call Mr Feiner a liar. Mr Lewis insisted Mr Krauss cease his accusations and his time to speak was up. He didn’t say, “Sit down! Sit the F*** down!

Retired Greenburgh resident Fred Stetter, who lives near the former Frank’s Nursery, demanded answers from the Board why Greenburgh was entering the banking business by “carrying” the GameOn 365 business for 13 years, not allowing the sale to be consummated for 13 years? He stated if he had run his business like this he would have gone out of business after one year! Again, no answers. Council of Civic Association President Madelon O’Shea requested to know what the Town Board was going to do about the horrible and inaudible sound being broadcast from Town Hall sessions and how soon will they fix it? No answer.

Elm Street Sports attorney Nicholas Ward-Willis stated issues that are problematic issues with the contract. He had previously emailed a letter detailing this to the Board members. The Town has a clear and undeniable duty to accept the highest price, a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and this contract deprives the taxpayers of result. GameOn 365 is offering less money and the Town is entering into “reckless payment terms and fraught with legal infirmities that render it invalid...” in contrast to what Elm Street Sports has offered.” The 13 year, $1.3M loan, below market interest rate, post-purchase loan which offers no security for the taxpayers over the course of 13 years. “When did the Town become a bank?” Ward-Willis asked, “Article 8 Section 1 of the NYS Constitution: no town shall give or loan any money or property to, or aid an individual or any private corporation.” He also pointed out that under General Municipal law section #51 states that taxpayers are allowed to commence an action against public officials in their individual capacity who are wasting public funds.     Apparently, there are better attorneys in the private sector than the public sector.

Ms Ella Preiser took to the podium, questioning the Boards actions based on the various points Mr Ward-Willis and then said there is a television program called “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” Point made. There are enough issues with this contract that a vote should not be made and this should be held over. Town Supervisor candidate Robert Bernstein spoke about the contract and stated the GameOn 365 deal is very troubling and proceeded to point out why. This was the course the entire evening took as speaker after speaker touched on so many issues that eventually Mr Jones made a motion to hold the ratification of the deal over. When Mr Bernstein next spoke during the 5-minute public session, he congratulated the Board for that decision. It remains to be seen what they will do next. Our prediction is they will vote it through anyway.

Hindering public comment. Bad deals that continue to benefit developers. Working under Mr Feiner’s “Friends and Families Plan”, and routinely making deals that hurt constituents taxpayers seems to be the several years in the making, a tact this Board has supported. Personal attacks from the Board are covertly made through letter and actions while espousing the same thing not be done toward themselves. This behavior is contemptible. The democrats are in control of this next election for Town Supervisor. There are two candidates. Please study the issues, question what is right and wrong and vote your conscience in the upcoming Democratic Primary, following your own moral compass. There were numerous requests for apologies and none given. Your decision should not include an apology for voting the wrong way.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Democrats Nominate Bernstein

The evening at Greenburgh Town Hall found almost every seat filled with several people standing in the rear of the room. Tonight was the Democrats night for candidate endorsements for democrats seeking to run for office as the democratic nominee. The meeting was chaired by Democratic leader Suzanne Berger. The evening found several candidates not specific to Greenburgh, such as County judges, County Clerk, etc., making their pitch for support from this receptive crowd.

The real news of the night was the nominations for Greenburgh Town Council members and Greenburgh Town Supervisor. Francis Sheehan and Diana Juettner were the expected winners with one challenger, not really mounting a challenge to the incumbents. While both got up to a receptive audience and thanked the people who nominated and seconded their nominations, their speeches could have been written and used by any candidate. They mentioned a few things that were specific to Greenburgh and naturally bypassed everything that would be involved or mired in controversy.

The real surprise was one of Mr Feiner’s former interns who got up as a now-district leader and nominated him for Supervisor after praising him. The second to the nomination was made by a gentleman whose duties this night would be the same for many candidates. Mr Feiner got up and thanked Mr Bernstein for running. He then rambled on until the timer cut him short, although they had given him an extra minute to speak. Next, an Edgemont district leader made the nomination of Robert Bernstein and then immediately yielded the floor to former Court Justice Herb Rosenberg. Mr Rosenberg expounded on the character, quality of work and ethical abilities of Mr Bernstein and urged the crowd to support him. The votes for Supervisor were cast and in time, Mr Bernstein would defeat Mr Feiner by 20 percentage points! Mr Bernstein will be the Democratic candidate for Greenburgh Town Supervisor.

Good luck to the candidates.

Truth, Lies, and the Greenburgh Way

A press conference on location will make an impact. Openly lying during the press conference will also make an impact. Promising to divulge information and at a press conference and then not doing so will make an impact. Inviting the press and neighbors to the press conference and not allowing questions will make an impact. Every aspect of today’s press conference was another part of the insider deal conceived and initiated in 2007 by Mr Feiner to help his “friends” from GameOn 365. One can only wonder what would motivate him to craft and participate in a sweetheart deal with an outside developer over the wishes of so many residents in the area and would not provide the best financial outcome for the Town?

Mr Feiner claimed that two-thirds of Greenburgh wanted the 8-story sports bubble through a biased and slanted referendum of November 6, 2012. A lie? Actually, yes. Only two-thirds of the voters out of about eight thousand who actually voted, out of ninety-two thousand residents in total, wanted the 83 foot tall sports bubble in a neighborhood other than their own. Shouldn’t the neighborhood being affected have the say and not everyone else? Of course. Mr Feiner rebuffed the Worthington-Woodlands Civic Association’s repeated requests to meet with him and the Town Board to discuss the proposal before any decision was made. The wording in the referendum ensured a “yes” vote while omitting important and pertinent data. Had the public had been properly informed of the “real deal”, they invariably would have voted against Mr Feiner’s bogus referendum. Those in the know, know that Mr Feiner doesn’t like to lose. That’s not a lie.

Today’s press conference was read by Mr Feiner from a prepared three page document that not only had omissions, but out and out lies. This was another extension of the old adage that Mr  Feiner subscribes to, that if you say something over and over, eventually it will be considered the truth. ABG believes Mr Feiner is incapable of the truth! He claims the Town extracted many concessions from GameOn 365. Yet he mentioned none! He claimed the Town would receive $3M for the sale, $1.7 “immediately” and the balance of $1.3M after the closing. Here’s the semantics and word-play we are so used to from Mr Feiner. In reviewing the contract, the balance of $1.3M is to be paid over the balance of the contract period of 15 years with an interest rate of 2.2%. It is roughly the same deal Mr Feiner and the Board tried to give GameOn 365 all along! Although back then, we were being told we would receive $5M after the 15 years. So we lost $2M in the interim. An omission or a lie? You decide.  Is it any wonder that incumbent and current re-election candidates Francis Sheehan and Diana Juettner didn’t show up to this counterfeit proposal? Please, don’t be too fast to let them off the hook as they are complicit with this since the inception of this deal. But since they are seeking re-election and still need Mr Feiner, they decided they needed to lay low.

Mr Feiner insisted that the Town actively solicited bids for this property after acquiring it. Simply, its another lie. After having his feet held to the fire, the Supervisor had a meager sign put up on the overgrown property advertising it. That’s it. The G10 asked at many meetings what was actively being done to advertise the land. If and when Mr Feiner would respond, he would say “they” put up flyers or he posted it on his blog, which apparently must be an active real estate sales location. What they never did was contact commercial real estate companies to market it. At the last Town Board meeting Mr Feiner accused residents of bid-rigging. This project is a blatant example of just that – not by residents, but by their elected officials! Could the reality be that Mr Feiner has made it so difficult to see the truth and requires so much in “pay to play” fees, that any legitimate developer interested in the property simply decided to pass on it?

The press conference got ugly when Mr Feiner made disparaging comments about the House of Sports, and their parent company Elm Street Sports, along with HelpBurstTheBubble.com and its owner Simon Cohen. Representatives from Elm Street Sports were present and challenged Mr Feiner’s allegations against them. Mr Feiner said he had court papers proving what he said. When pushed to read from them or produce them, Mr Feiner would not. Then he went after one of the principals of Elm Street Sports for comments he made over a year ago at a Town Board meeting. Elm Street Sports has offered $3.5M for the property and promised any and all remediation required before building. Their only condition was the Town provide the requirements to remediate the sight. Mr Feiner never returned or responded to their letters, phone calls or emails. There was no reason to – he never intended for anyone else to get the property than GameOn 365!

Mr Feiner is certainly not the paragon of truth or honesty. Time has proven this and two courts have validated this with guilty verdicts against him for destroying evidence, lying under oath and discriminating against an African American Church (with four additional counts). We found it incredulous when he had the audacity to say, “Finally, I’m troubled by House of Sports relationship with Burst The Bubble, which claimed to be a legitimate not for profit community organization opposing development for environmental reasons.” He’s troubled by a relationship of a private citizen and a private company? Greenburgh residents are all troubled by a relationship between Mr Feiner and GameOn 365’s Martin Hewitt as well as GameOn 365! The residents are troubled by Mr Feiner’s biased challenge of HelpBurstTheBubble.com’s environmental concerns. Had it not been for the residents and in particular HelpBurstTheBubble.com, Mr Feiner would have pushed an illegal lease deal through without regard to the contamination on the site. Now you can see why Mr Feiner is manipulating the press conference against Elm Street Sports and HelpBurstTheBubble.com and not talking about the sweetheart deal he has blessed onto GameOn 365 for practically no serious money and less money overall than originally promised! Mr Feiner had engaged into deflection mode but the residents in attendance weren’t accepting any of it.

Elm Street Sports has promised more litigation for this spurious and frankly, insulting, deal being perpetrated against the Town from within. As we study the contract, the Town plans to vote on this tomorrow night. We pray residents from Greenburgh come to speak out against this sham. GameOn 365 has previously brought in non-residents from outside the area to speak on their behalf, “supporting” this proposal. This is another example of government run amok because we lack term limits and checks and balances with single party control. After Mr Jones shouts down another resident lets see if Mr Feiner will shout out, “You can’t handle the truth!”

With the Democratic Nominating Convention taking place at Town Hall Tuesday night, which we “trust” they will be paying for, we hope the Democratic district leaders will use their better judgement to not nominate Mr Feiner as their top representative for the Town and hopes they’ll be doing the right thing. There’s an opportunity for real change to take place in Greenburgh tonight. Let’s hope they don’t blow it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lawrence Batchie III Passes


After struggling with illnesses and cancer for some time, 42 years old Lawrence “Larry” Batchie III, passed away at the Westchester County Medical Center. Larry is the son of Lawrence Batchie II (deceased) and Cathy (Gallagher) Batchie, and brother to Kerry and Mark. Larry was a life member of the Elmsford Fire Company Number 1 (Elmsford FD) and the Elmsford Italian American Club. He enjoyed the fire service, antique automobiles and oldies music, especially Elvis Presley. Details will be forthcoming when we receive them. Rest in peace.

Semantics or Another Lie?

Last Friday ABG as well as others in the media fell for Mr Feiner’s classic use of words reporting that the Town Board voted in favor of selling the former Frank’s Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road to GameOn 365. You’ll recall that Mr Feiner violated his much-touted open government policy as he secretly met with GameOn 365 principals to close a deal even before the Town acquired the property through foreclosure. The they met to work up a lease for the property since GameOn 365 could not afford to purchase it outright. As Mr Feiner craftily tried to slip the lease through the Town Board’s well-greased approval process, an alert and vigilant G10 slammed on the brakes!

It turns Supervisor Paul Feiner said Friday afternoon the town had “decided” to sell the property to Game On 365 for $3 million. Mea culpa – we should have known better. Mr Feiner added that the developer would pay for the site’s environmental remediation, a sticking point with residents who originally fought the proposed illegal lease with a lawsuit. At a press conference to be held at 2:15PM today (real start time is 2:45PM based on past experience), Mr Feiner and his Board plan to account for the supposed 3 to 2 standing with the Board in favor of selling to GameOn 365. It’s not always good to be correct, but ABG predicted this outcome for quite some time now. Still, there never was a public vote to sell to GameOn 365!

At the mid-afternoon press conference to be held at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, Mr Feiner and crew intend to explain their rationale to accept a $3 million bid from Game On 365, bypassing a $3.5 million offer from Elm Street Sports Group, who operates a sports training facility in Ardsley. Here’s a sampling of what ABG predicts will be said to some degree or another, “The Town Board wrestled with which offer to accept for the property. Or, we did our due diligence and tried to get as much money as we possibly could for the land. Or, we had a fiduciary responsibility to the Town and were able to get more money from GameOn 365. Or, GameOn 365 has always be our company of choice because (and here is where excuses won’t matter) they offered to develop the land when no one else would; or, they have a terrific track record with their smaller facilities; or, I see this area being developed as a sports oriented area and as soon as we can drive out the other nurseries and driving range, we will spot zone the property for any developer who stays with a sports theme. Or, we, uh, I mean GameOn 365 will pay for all remediation and we haven’t decided if we’ll give them rental credits for doing so. Or, we have nothing against House of Sports; or, House of Sports is a fine company, but we needed to let someone else have a shot; or, we weren’t sure House of Sports was serious with their offer and Francis said that publicly numerous times; or, I made this decision years ago and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone stop me!” Choose whatever line works the best for you.
So at this afternoon’s meeting, ABG hopes that the press will truly question the motivations by those leaders in the Town, why they are ignoring the better offer, and what other elements of this deal will be costing the residents and for how much? Whatever it is, it will surely have a proctological outcome for the Unincorporated Greenburgh residents. Why is everyone ignoring them?. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Elmsford School Board Recommendations

We’ve posted previously that we don’t usually endorse candidates. There are five candidates running for two open seats. ABG joined them at an open forum event at the Village of Elmsford Village Hall. It was sponsored by the Elmsford Author’s Fund as part of their “Meet the Candidates” Forum. Those candidates are incumbent Matthew RC Evans, and four newcomers, Justin Datino, Tilsa Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Christopher F. Sia and Theodore Thomas.

Each candidate gave an opening statement. That was followed by direct questions to each candidate from the Forum’s moderator. As with any event of this nature, time is always the enemy and limits a candidates answer. It also works to everyone’s advantage as it mandates concise, pointed answers. Mr Thomas seemed most able to be brief but effective. Several audience questions were specific to existing programs that were answered best by Mr Evans – only because he has a more intimate familiarity with policies as the incumbent. 

During the exchanges, there were never any personal attacks nor were the candidates critical of each other or their ideas. The four newcomers offer a wide diversity of backgrounds that may all bring something different to the “table”. 

Mr Justin Datino, an Assistant to the Scarsdale Village Administrator, with a background in Government Administration focused heavily and pointedly on Transportation costs, acknowledging there are unchangeable fixed costs for personnel, pensions, and operating expenses while saying he is still willing to look at them and see what might be able to done to save the district more. 

Ms Rodriguez-Gonzalez, is an educator in the Bronx. She detailed her background as being two-fold. One part of what she does is as a teacher of Health and Physical Education. The second part of what she does is to study informational data to better assist her colleagues in the school improve how they teach to reach students better. ABG apologizes for not having gotten the title of that position. She was asked why her three children attended private schools? She stated it was a personal reason and still explained some of her reasons. ABG found her answer acceptable. One statement ABG did not find acceptable was a comment she made about the position she was seeking, saying, “After all, it is a volunteer position.” While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for her, and we found her qualified, we were dismayed to hear that comment.

Mr Sia, who works for the County of Westchester at the Archive & Records office on 9A, made an enlightening comment. He stated as a somewhat recent graduate of Alexander Hamilton High School, he felt ill-prepared for college. He felt his poor experience in high school, and his deficiencies in math, computer knowledge and English made college more difficult for him. He said he would look to help the students be better prepared for their next educational journey after high school.

Mr Thomas, recently retired from the Elmsford Police Department and previously from the insurance industry offered an interesting proposition if he were to be elected. He would invite Governor Cuomo, several elected leaders, local PTA members, School Board members and a few students to lunch trying to help bridge the gap from his small community to the larger state entity. He would also work toward acquiring funds through grants from various sources to help offset the costs of education already saddling our taxpayers. As a retiree, he is willing to go to Albany and/or Washington DC as often as necessary to help the Elmsford School District and community. 

The Forum was an enlightening event. It was a meeting chocked full of good questions and good answers. School taxes are the bulk of all taxpayers’ overall tax bill. Given it’s significance, you would think everyone would come out and vote. The public is faced with five choices in this Tuesday’s School Board election. There are no bad choices in this upcoming election. Based on what we heard this afternoon, ABG believes the two strongest contenders are Mr Justin Datino and Mr Theodore (Ted) Thomas. There’s a saying in politics, GOTV: get out the vote. So go. If you haven’t followed the candidates or aren’t sure or just need to be pushed along, vote for these two candidates we just mentioned. Just go vote!

Edgemont’s Bernstein To Challenge Feiner


ABG received the following letter (italicized below) from Mr Robert Bernstein, of the Edgemont section of the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh. Mr Bernstein, a practicing attorney based in NYC, has intervened on behalf of residents of, as well as the Town in numerous occasions and is a former President of the Edgemont Community Council, an umbrella group encompassing the numerous Edgemont civic associations in Greenburgh. 

As ABG has previously posted, the Republican Party has written Greenburgh off entirely and refuses to offer candidates to run against Mr Feiner. ABG believes the diversity of opposing opinions would offer the Town a better balance. The Democratic Party would be remiss by not seizing the opportunity to offer a different candidate than Mr Feiner, let alone a qualified candidate such as Mr Bernstein. While ABG believes Mr Bernstein has always done what he feels best for the residents of the Town, it too has cost us financially. Without delving into that any further, ABG feels the good that Mr Bernstein has done for the Town far outweighs any negatives. Based on his substantive contributions to the Town, ABG believes Mr Bernstein warrants the support for the Democratic nomination for Town Supervisor. We’re sure the “positioning” phone calls have begun.

When Bill developed and ran this site, he ended his articles with his signature tag line, “We can only hope.” This time, I think Bill might believe it! 


Mr. Bernstein’s Letter:
Dear Fellow District Leaders:

In the last several days, district leaders from unincorporated Greenburgh and from the villages have approached me to ask if I would challenge Paul Feiner for the Democratic nomination for Town Supervisor.

They came to me and said if there were ever a time when Paul needed to be challenged, it was now.

It is unfathomable, they said, for Democrats in this town to endorse a candidate for reelection who was found guilty of violating the constitutional rights of a church, destroying evidence, and found to have testified falsely under oath, and where taxpayers will be facing a bill for the damages Paul caused – a bill that could be in excess of $7 million – none of which will be covered by insurance.

They came to me and said Democrats in Greenburgh cannot in good conscience support a candidate who twice turned down an opportunity to extend the WestHELP lease – once the largest single non-tax source of revenue for the entire town, including the villages – for $1.2 million a year between 2011 and 2021. It has been 20 months since the lease expired and Paul has to this day deliberately kept WestHELP’s 108 apartments, which the town is required to use for low or moderate income rental housing, vacant and deteriorating to the point they are now uninhabitable, requiring millions of dollars to renovate.

Why has he done that? My friends in the Greenburgh chapter of the NAACP – who are recognizing me Sunday night at their annual gala for my efforts to promote affordable housing at WestHELP – will tell you. They know why.  

District leaders came to me and said Democrats cannot sit quietly by while Paul insists on entering the Town into a multi-million dollar, 18-year lease of the WestHELP property to a company that has admitted misrepresenting its affiliation with a reputable affordable housing company and which has absolutely zero experience in affordable housing. All of which strongly suggests it will never be able to consummate a deal with the Town and thereby keep the WestHELP apartments vacant and deteriorating – something Rob Astorino and his tea party friends certainly want to see to happen, but not something Greenburgh Democrats should support.

District leaders came to me and asked: Would I be willing to give up my 30-plus years of legal practice, take time away from my wife and family, and end the chaos that surrounds every decision Paul makes.

They cited my experience as a civic leader, as someone who attends town board meetings and is familiar with the issues, and as a lawyer who worked with Dobbs Ferry justice Herb Rosenberg to successfully intervene at our own expense on behalf of the taxpayers in unincorporated Greenburgh and the villages to defeat a claim against the Town by the Valhalla School District for millions of dollars in town revenues – a claim Paul gave his full support to – and to successfully recover more than $1 million in funds Paul illegally disbursed to Valhalla.

And so, having given this a lot of thought, and after getting the backing of my family, I am writing to ask you to support my nomination Tuesday evening as the Democratic candidate for Greenburgh Town Supervisor this fall.

Paul will use every negative campaign tactic he and his team of advisors can come up with.  He won’t hesitate to launch personal attacks on the town website and in the town’s emails. His attitude is always the same: sue me. Well, he has been sued, and the courts have finally figured him out.  

As Democrats we need to unite behind a candidate who can win. I am persuaded by many of you that even though this race is a long shot, it is winnable. I know we will have a lot of grass-roots support. Democrats will actually be enthusiastic once again about supporting a candidate for town supervisor.

Please come to the convention on Tuesday night and support my candidacy.

Thank you.
 Bob Bernstein

Divide and Conquer and Bid Rigging

At the last Town Board meeting, where new Councilman Ken Jones hurled the “F-bomb” at resident Hal Samis for approaching the dais, the G10 were in attendance and in good form. Speaker after speaker continued to harangue the Board for not doing their “due diligence” regarding the allegedly fabricated partnership of Group MRH and the Richman Corporation by Group MRH’s principal. Richman is well-known for their work in affordable housing throughout the nation. Regardless of what was presented, the Board feigned interest with their residents and either walked out or directed their attention to their personal electronic devices. ABG acknowledges that the exception may be momentarily acceptable to check a device, but this Board is worse than a young teen with their first phone (or A.D.D).

Also at the last meeting the public was treated to a new catch-phrase from Mr Feiner. He decided he would attack the residents questioning his motives regarding WestHelp since he lost that challenge. His lack of due diligence and feckless ability to broker a beneficial deal for the Town, or for that matter, any deal for the Town keeps our Town spiraling out of control. The list of Mr Feiner’s recent and ignored debacles awaits poised for his re-election bid this Tuesday night at Greenburgh Town Hall.

This reminds us of when democrats were using the facility to make phone calls for President Obama’s re-election campaign and Republican Chairman Doug Colety found out that a political party was using Town resources for campaigning and caught Mr Feiner red-handed supplying the use of Town Hall by a political party without charging for its use. Embarrassed? Doubtful. ABG has repeatedly heard that Mr Feiner is without the “shame” gene. But, he did request they pay a token amount. And, in typical knee-jerk fashion, the Town Board “wrestled” with how much to charge any group using Town Hall property? As always, after they all postulated, they offered no solution. Ms Ella Preiser informed them of a policy already on the books for years, citing chapter, verse and date of adoption, and that they should simply follow it. Ockham’s Razor; also doubtful in Greenburgh. Let’s see if the Town receives a check from the Democratic Party for this nominating convention?

As Mr Feiner continues the wholesaling of the Unincorporated Town to developers, residents are challenged by his divide and conquer strategy, all the while sitting in either increased traffic or flooded neighborhoods. He wrongfully assumes they cannot possibly have the resources to effectively battle him, deeming himself unstoppable. In concert with Mr Feiner is his “Fidus Achates”, Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden, whose title seems to grow in propensity with the need cover Mr Feiner’s litigiousness butt. Mr Madden bristles as he presents every proposal to the Town Board with an implied endorsement, ensuring job security. Mr Feiner relishes these exhortations, perched from the dais like the buzzard eyeing a carcass from afar, never once disagreeing or instructing Mr Madden to, “Sit down. Sit the F*** down!”

Here’s a few examples:
The Edgemont Community Council has been directing their efforts to dealing with the Dromore Road zoning and building conflagrations and slowly making headway. Fulton Park’s Civic Association is dealing with Westhab’s building construction violations to no avail and will next be addressing the Deli Delicious drive-through requests yet again - if they can get through the backed-up traffic jams on their overburdened street. The Parkway Homes Civic Association found themselves surprised with Mr Feiner’s “slipping” another group home into an already saturated area at 88 North Road. Low and behold, Councilman Ken Jones is a member and said nothing to his neighborhood. The Glenview Civic Association has had its issues with the Brightview Assisted Living facility that asked for, wrote and received the zoning change from the Town Board to increase the size of their building and any others built throughout the Town in the future. They had just finished with all the Stop and Shop problems and violations only for Mr Feiner to find a speck of undeveloped property in their neighborhood he would “gift” a developer. The Village of Ardsley will be getting at least half a million dollars from the sale of the Town-owned, foreclosed upon former-Water Wheel property while other Villages and the Unincorporated Town watch helplessly in disbelief. Of course, the Cumberland Farms deception on Central Avenue hosted a look at ways the Town Board could charge all Central Avenue Service Stations a several thousand dollar fee (read: tax) based on their distorted view of how to reward existing businesses in the Town. Let’s not forget the Worthington-Woodlands Civic Association’s recent request to meet with the Town Board to discuss the GameOn 365 propos...oh wait a minute, Mr Feiner and his Board just pushed that through without a public meeting after promising to propose a few dates for them all to sit down together to discuss it. The guilty verdict against the Town for the illegal sewer district billing by the Southern Greenville Civic Association area keeps those people occupied as the Town still hasn’t followed the court-ordered restorations and refunds. While we’re in that neighborhood, lets not ignore the Toll Brothers development that has constantly and continues to violate many of the Town’s building regulations. Apparently, Mr Feiner is happy to look the other way himself and ignore others that work for him doing the same. Of course in Valhalla, Mr Feiner led the charge to break the lease stipulations with the County for the WestHelp facility, allowed it to deteriorate and try to add a new tenant that he did not have authority to do. Fortunately, NYS shot down this bad idea and insisted the affordable housing remain just that. And while we would love to see legal action taken against him for doing this, it would be counterproductive and only cost us more money in guilty verdict judgments. The north Elmsford-area Civic Association of the Town will now be trying to reign in Mr Feiner with the 100 acres (50 in Greenburgh and 50 in Mt Pleasant) of construction near and on the old Union Carbide property, increasing car and truck traffic to an already impossible traffic situation on Rt 9A and other area roads. Increasingly record setting flooding will continue to hammer anything south of the area during a “regular” rainfall. On Taxter Road we’ll see 400 more condominiums being built. White water rafting to Ardsley may be a new sport in Elmsford with each rainfall. Back on the Bronx River side of the Town, Mr Feiner has done nothing to help those residents and businesses with any type of flood relief maintenance.

In every instance mentioned above, its believed developers secretly met with Mr Open Government himself or Mr Madden to craft what they would need to promise the Town to move ahead with their plans. The Fortress Bible Church refused to offer the fire district a donation per Mr Feiner’s request and met only resistence with their proposed church and school. The Hebrew Retire Center on Grasslands road conceded and their expansion plans sailed through the Town’s bureaucracy like a hot knife through butter. Fortress Bible Church sued and won, with the settlement award to be upwards of $8M! 

Mr Feiner accused the residents of bid rigging at the last Town Board meeting but has been proven to be the only suspect of bid rigging in the Town. And where is our Town Board? Surely the Board members who are attorneys can see they are not upholding their “Officer of the Court” status with their condonation of all of these actions and bad decisions. We can only wait and see what happens with the nominations at the democratic meeting to invariably be held at no charge at Town Hall. We hope the democrats have someone able and willing to challenge Mr Feiner. His time has past. We need to get back to healing our Town without being divided and certainly never conquered!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Supervisor Bid-Rigging Proves Lucrative In Greenburgh

With another scandal haunting our corrupt Town administration, its purported that the Board was instructed to go along with the sale of the former Frank’s Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road to Mr Feiner’s pre-ordained, unproven, on-paper “company” of choice, GameOn 365. ABG believes under the cover of darkness (really just one more of their all too common Executive sessions), Mr Feiner probably instructed the Board that half could disagree and vote against the proposition, offering a tie. He would deal the final vote to break the tie. Open government?

At every meeting, any questions that arose as to why choose GameOn 365 had been routinely dismissed with his already worn-out new phrase, “The Town Board is doing it’s due diligence and cannot comment about an on-going negotiation.” There were no negotiations. There was nothing “on-going”, except for Mr Feiner’s desire to award a rigged bid to his favored new friends at GameOn 365. All everyone asked for was an explanation of the parameters he and the Board sought for the sale and to publicly and openly discuss them. And still the entire Board remained silent – again! If the residents pushed too directly and the prickly situations got too uncomfortable for these “leaders”, Town Attorney Lewis would intervene on Mr Feiner’s behalf and use his standard line, “We cannot negotiate Town contracts in public.” Again, there were no negotiations. If there were, they were behind closed doors and in private Executive sessions, hidden from public review. Open government?

Earlier in the meeting Ms Lynette Bass, a Director with the Worthington-Woodlands Civic Association read several email correspondences between herself and Mr Feiner. It seemed to be a lopsided mating dance that bore nothing but frustration for Ms Bass as Mr Feiner refused to directly answer her request for her organization to meet with the Town Board – no surprise there. While the Town Board rarely if ever engages in conversation with any speaker, Ms Bass was somehow granted special dispensation from Mr Feiner and again asked when and where they could meet. Mr Feiner insisted she pick the time and place and perhaps all the Board members would attend. She asked him to make the arrangements and would the entire Board attend? Perhaps, perhaps not; he couldn’t say. The same thing happened with Mr Bock when he commented on speeding on Old Kensico Road, and Mr Feiner suggested Mr Bock send a letter requesting to see if Old Kensico Road residents would support the installation of a sidewalk. Mr Bock was happy to do so but thought it better for the Town to send the letter, accommodating any legal requirements he might be unaware of. Mr Feiner crafted an very accusatory letter against Mr Bock and mailed it out to Old Kensico Road residents. This was reminiscent of a similarly poised referendum to elicit a specific response regardless of how people voted. Open government?

A concerned resident, Mr Hal Samis, challenged the Town Board at their last Board meeting while Mr Tom Bock was addressing the Board. He was the last speaker who was begrudgingly allowed time after several residents vociferously complained when several Board members tried to end the testy meeting without giving him his five minutes under the public comment session. Mr Samis approached the dais while Mr Bock was speaking and loudly challenged the entire Board who were focused on their electronic devices. The newest Town Board member, Mr Ken Jones, unwittingly responded to Mr Samis’ challenge by standing up, leaning forward onto the dais, the and yelling at Mr Samis to, “Sit down. Sit the f*** down!” Mr Jones seemed hostile toward Mr Samis, and dangerously out of control! While Mr Samis’ breach of meeting protocol may have shaken up the meeting a bit, it did highlight the constant poor behavior of the Board members and their incessant addiction to their devices while ignoring the public during their limited time to address them! Not knowing how to properly react to Mr Samis’ challenge, the Board abruptly ended the meeting as well as Mr Bock’s time at the microphone. Open government?

In the course of a mere 7 days, after two long years of foot-dragging, and as Mr Feiner faked his intent to meet with the Worthington-Woodlands Civic Association to discuss the plans and progress with the former Frank’s Nursery property, ABG believes Mr Feiner knew he had to act and to hell with the Worthington-Woodlands group! He must have panicked and insisted on polling his Board for a vote – now! So while the results of the final vote was 3 in favor and 2 against, it remains another secret as to whose vote went for and whose vote went against the deal. Our best guess is Morgan and Juettner voted in favor and Juettner only because she is joined at the hip with Mr Feiner and the Fortress Bible guilty verdict. Sheehan had been waffling on a decision and may be seeking to distance himself from the next lawsuit. After the verbal “beat-down” Jones took from Mr Bob Bernstein about being a member of the NYS Bar Association and his incumbency to assure no illegal actions befall the Town, we think Jones may have made the right move but for the wrong reasons. Open government? Nah, strictly CYA.

ABG finds the race to approve this deal questionable amidst lawsuits, the public’s lack of information and involvement, the required remediation, increased financial offers, illegal leases and so many other issues. ABG is guessing there will be more activity on this unsettling deal that seems to delve into more dark areas than an Army proctologist. Open government? Nah, simply another lie!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Feiner’s Bid-Rigging Finale Prevails

In a surprising announcement late on Friday afternoon when most residents are leaving work, thinking of their weekend plans, our Town Supervisor quietly slipped the announcement out through his blog that he and his Town Board awarded the sale of 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank’s Nursery property to the “paper” corporation, GameOn 365, for $3M! No details of the contract were available as of this posting. Not-so-stunning was the amount of time Mr Feiner had to keep the opponents at bay while GameOn 365 struggled to find financing through outside investors. He has been stalling the sale of the property for over two years now, assisting with GameOn 365’s search for investors by contriving an illegal referendum to justify his illegal actions.

ABG has predicted all along that Mr. Feiner and his Board would disregard the more lucrative offer from the established and profitable House of Sports’ parent company, Elm Street Sports, or any others for that matter, and pretend to show interest in all offers and ultimately, painstakingly, and hesitantly accept the “best offer for the Town in his estimation” from GameOn 365. We cannot prove collusion but can certainly acknowledge facts about this transaction don’t sit well with most people. ABG believes this warrants an A.G. investigation but knows that probably won’t happen.

Months before the Town acquired the former Frank’s Nursery property through foreclosure, representatives from GameOn 365 met with Mr. Feiner regarding the property. Unbeknownst to most residents and Town employees, Mr. Feiner and crew continued to craft a deal with them. Having apparently promised the property to GameOn 365, Mr Feiner struggled to find a way to make this deal happen quickly and without much resistance. He offered to lease the property to GameOn 365 in what can only be described as a major sweetheart deal.

The original offer from GameOn 365 was a promised $5M to the Town over 15 years. Thinking residents are clueless, Mr. Feiner issued press release after press release touting the deal. The press was negligent in doing their duty and didn’t scrutinize the legality of what Mr. Feiner was proposing. But a community backed lawsuit put a stop to the lease. What to do? GameOn 365 was nervous – their too-good-to-be-true deal with Mr. Feiner was vaporizing before them. Mr Feiner, a shrewd and clever non-practicing lawyer finally got the answer from the lawsuit itself. The Town is required to sell any property acquired through foreclosure and it could be a private sale without an RFP. He would do just that.

Yet, Elm Street Sports still wanted in. They had the cash in hand and could make the purchase immediately as they are already operating a successful sports facility in Ardsley. GameOn 365 is a couple of stockbrokers with little or no cash at all. To consummate this sale quickly, Mr Feiner would need to step up his game (no pun intended) to keep them out. Elm Street Sports offered $3.5M and full coverage for remediation of the site. There were no strings attached with their offer. They only asked what would be required of them? Mr Feiner never responded to their queries knowing he never had any intention of selling to them. The deal with GameOn 365, found them offering to put up a percentage of the down payment and claimed to pay for some remediation with a total sale price of $1.2M that included rent reimbursements from the Town as well as the option to terminate the deal at any time. After residents hounded Mr Feiner that he was giving the highly valued property away for “a song”, Mr Feiner had an assessor come and look at the property for a valuation. The assessor returned an estimated value at, wait for it, $1.2M! Then, the Town put that same assessor on retainer for the Town!

Mr. Feiner’s latest accusations toward concerned residents at the last Town Board meeting were that they were bid-rigging. Now, Mr. Feiner announced a lease for the property between the Town and GameOn 365 without ever doing any real “due diligence” because he knew he was always going to give GameOn 365 the property. In the interim, Elm Street Sports doubled the original GameOn 365 sale price offer to $3.5M. Everyone spoke clearly and with conviction and said take the highest offer. Mr Sheehan insisted he didn’t believe the Elm Street Sports offer was sincere. One of the Elm Street Sports representatives said at a Town Board meeting, “When it comes to money, especially millions of dollars, I am always sincere.” Too bad our Town Board isn’t.

The Town Board has the ability to make this sale whether the public endorses it or not. The public asked for an RFP but was ignored. The public asked for answers and got none. The devil is always in the details and while no details were exposed for this new deal with GameOn 365, we’ll keep you posted as this story promises more dark roads ahead.