Friday, December 18, 2015

Illegal Sale From Town Board Thwarted

Being forced to limit themselves to the law can certainly put a crimp in Mr Feiner and his Town Board’s actions. As we’ve mentioned numerous times, if Mr Feiner doesn’t like a law, he simply ignores it and asks forgiveness when challenged. Case in point was seen again just two Town Board meetings ago. Mr Feiner did a mailing to residents along with the requisite email blast, both of which ABG regards as campaign mailings. Once again, the Town Board was derailed by not only the ever-vigilant G10, but also by residents who had never before come to a Town Board meeting. You see, Mr Feiner had scheduled a vote for the sale of property belonging to the Town in the Village of Hastings on Hudson.

The headline read, “Hastings On Hudson Resident Purchasing Land From Town So Children Can Walk Safely To School” with a brief paragraph describing that a resident, Hallie Anderson is a role model, purchasing the property to create a path to enable kids walking to school a path to travel, away from the Tomkins Avenue roadway that the students are apparently forced to walk on to school. However, he also states later, The children of Marianna Drive have used these woods as a way to school for 60 years, and she just wants to enable them to safely do so in the future. The Town Board will sell her the property for $2000 at our meeting on Monday night at 7:30 PM. While Ms Anderson may be a role model, Mr Feiner and his Board are not. What he fails to mention is that the Town cannot legally sell the property without performing a number of requisite steps.

The Town has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpaying residents of the Town to get the highest amount possible for any real estate transaction the Town undertakes. Once Ms Anderson apparently made the secret deal with Mr Feiner, he more than likely invited her to explain her position to his Town Board at a work session. She did just that. In fact she brought several neighbors who all espoused the value of this project. But that’s when Mr Feiner’s newest scheme began to unravel.

At the subsequent Town Board meeting, Brendan Maney, accompanied by others, spoke from the podium during the public comment session of the sale Mr Feiner had initiated with Ms Anderson. During Mr Maney’s time at the microphone, he stated that there had been no survey which are required for land sales, trees were removed without permits, a 15’ divide was created with about 18” depth of mulch. There was never an appraisal of the strip of land in question, no contract drawn, no title search completed nor a public auction held for the land. Mr Maney offered double the amount, $4,000, for the tract of land. He also stated that because of the work already performed, the property has become a hangout area and a problem with noise, littering etc.

The Town Board realized once again the hot water Mr Feiner put them in when he created this secret deal that had now been exposed. Papers shuffled on the dais without much comment. It reminds us of the GameOn 365 debacle created by Mr Feiner for his friends from GameOn 365 with the former Frank’s Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. You’ll recall the Town acquired that property through foreclosure and learned of the site’s contamination when they tried to relocate the Town Library there during the library’s construction. Mr Feiner first tried to illegally lease the property to them and then sell it to them for less than the property was worth. There was a lot of back and forth and scheming to make the deal happen. The G10 and others threatened a lawsuit to stop the sweetheart deal from moving forward. That seemed to work, at least temporarily.

Also entered into that fray was Ardsley’s House of Sports, who offered to purchase the property for double what GameOn 365 was offering to pay for it. Mr Feiner refused. Sound familiar? Then House of Sports upped the ante and offered to pay for all remediation necessary for the property. GameOn 365 would not pay for remediation as they have no money and Mr Feiner said the Town would pay. But he only said the Town would pay for some of the applicants. 

Town Attorney Tim Lewis, apparently a little-to-unknown hazardous materials remediation expert, repeatedly stated the cleanup would cost no more than $100,000. The study for the remediation just about cost that. Regardless, Mr Feiner refused the offer from House of Sports with the cleanup included. It now appears that the Town will be selling the Dobbs Ferry Road property for an Assisted Living facility and the Unincorporated taxpayers will pay for remediation costs up to $2 million dollars. But there is no mention what it will cost the Unincorporated taxpayers should the cleanup go beyond $2 million. We believe the if the cost goes above two million, which is likely, the Town will wind up giving the developer the property, at a loss, and the only income the property will generate will be tax revenue.

The Hastings property sale was another questionable (as opposed to shady) deal that took place in the corner office. We’re not saying, however, that Ms Anderson is acting anyway but openly and honestly. We are saying that Mr Feiner’s actions are suspect.
And even if he were finally operating on the up-and-up, which we find almost impossible to believe, past performance is the definitive guarantee that tells us he’s probably acting questionably.

After the last Town Board meeting, Councilman Morgan approached the Maney’s and we overheard a portion of that conversation. We believe he told them that he had been in contact with the Hastings on Hudson Mayor about either donating or deeding the property from the Town to the Village, who could then sell it or do whatever they want with it. It remains to be seen how this will play out. But it seems for now, the Town Board may have deflected another bullet fired by Mr Feiner again. It remains to be seen. This Town Board rarely does the right thing, just the right thing for themselves. This time seems to be the exception. They need to make the exception be the rule. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the sale of the former Frank's property, should the cost of remediation near $2,000,000, the Town has already LOST money. At the accepted sales price of $3,500,000 (quite a departure from the much higher prices that Feiner had said developers were willing to pay), subtract, say $2,000,000 for remediation; subtract the already owed taxing District (School, Fire, etc.) taxes in arrears that the Town is required to pay; subtract the $100,000 in environmental studies; subtract the fees and marketing already paid to the "Broker" plus any additional commissions upon passing of title; subtract the cost of the men (and women) hours of Town Hall staffing to promote the sale (meetings held onsite etc.) and you can come to your own conclusion that will never appear on the the Town's (resident financed) GBlist: taxpayers are again deep in the red by suffering the fool they re-elect to the Town's highest office. Ditto the rest of the Town B-O-R-E-D.