The Hartford not in park’s boundaries Officials: Panel shouldn’t have had final say on building plan
With all the meetings and telephone conferences taking place and billed to the Town of New Hartford by Town Attorney Green one would think that someone would have realized that The Hartford Insurance building was being built outside the boundary of the business park as outlined in town law.
Strikeslip recently blogged about the discrepancy between the map in Town Code vs. the maps that were being distributed in regards to The Hartford Insurance PILOT and the business park. In his blog, he also links to a blog he previously wrote on the same topic. Concerned Citizens is not buying their "I didn't know until now" baloney.
In August 2005, just about the time of the Republican Primary for Town Supervisor, and two (2) town councilmen seats (Payne and Reynolds), Larry Adler purchased property from Lena McCubbin; property where The Hartford Insurance is now located. Toward the end of January 2006, after the election where Reed, Reynolds and Payne won their seats on the town board, Larry Adler presented his "plan" for the business park to the Planning Board. Adler's initial site review plan stated that he would not be needing any Federal, State or Local funding; however, somewhere along the line the plans changed.
How come no one realized that the Hartford was being built outside the boundary of the business park, or did they? Did Earle Reed, David Reynolds and Town Attorney Green have an agenda when they took over in 2006? Was Earle Reed possibly trying to help out a friend and Juniper, Florida neighbor (Larry Adler) in exchange for his election to office? What was Councilman Reynolds motive? Was Don Backman who was supported by the Republican Committee for the Ward 1 Council seat (currently held by Payne) in the Primary "pushed" out of office because they knew he would not allow all this secrecy to happen? And what could have possibly been the motive for Town Attorney Gerald Green who also happens to be Chairman of the New Hartford Republican Committee? If everyone truly believed that everything was on the "up and up" why all the secrecy on all levels of Town Government?
Who prepared the report titled "New Hartford Business Park" that was prepared on March 20, 2006 according to notes at the bottom of each of the pages in the report? The report was included in the New Hartford Business Park file that Concerned Citizens FOILed in early 2008.
According to the title page of the report, Larry Adler is named as the contact person. On page 4 of the report it mentions the Par Technology Feasibility Study report of September 1995 which said:
The Beckerman property (current application) is essential for the development of the Business Park and should be secured by the town as soon as possible.That parcel was secured by the town...the town was paying for an option on the property.
The report continues:
Negotiations could also begin for the McCubbin property (controlled by the applicant) to allow access onto Middlesettlement Road.The operative word is COULD...but the negotiations apparently never did take place because the property was never included in the map of the business park.
Concerned Citizens FOILed all of Town Attorney Green's invoices from January 2006 to February 2009. We were amazed at the level of involvement Attorney Green had with the development of the Business Park. He billed over $61,000 to the town for his part in the business park project between 2006 and early 2009 and we imagine that more charges have since been billed to the Town by Attorney Green.
We were equally amazed to see the number of meetings and telephone conferences between Town Attorney Green and Larry Adler. Looking at our spreadsheet, it looks like Larry Adler thought Attorney Green was his personal attorney; taxpayers paid for these meetings and telephone conferences. Did Attorney Green work outside the scope of his duties as Town Attorney when he spent so much time in dealings with Larry Adler? Current Attorney Green invoices also show billings for meetings with Larry Adler regarding the Cedarbrook Village; part of the Sitrin Complex that Larry Adler now owns.
Concerned Citizens did a spreadsheet of all the times that Town Attorney Green, Chairman of the New Hartford Republican Committee billed the town for work on the Business Park. There are 30 pages of charges billed to the town that have reference to the development of the New Hartford Business Park.
One of the descriptions in Town Attorney Green's billing was on March 3, 2008, "Legal Research re: NH Business Park (legal avoidance of bid process)". What possible motive could there be for not wanting to get the best price possible by opening a job up for bids? Doesn't it seem odd that in August 2008, there was only one (1) bid for Contract #1 and that the one (1) bid just happened to be from Burrows (see UPDATE at bottom of link)? Doesn't it seem odd that Burrows was actually awarded the contract for the work based on one (1) bid received particularly when you look at the fact that they were also the contractor hired [not by the town; at least not through a bid offering] to clear the land for the business park in October 2007? It would seem suspect that only one (1) bid was received...surely there must have been others who would have wanted that job.
A previous Observer Dispatch article says that the obscure town law allowing for the staff run committee meetings regarding the development of the New Hartford Business Park will now be open to the public. However, like the Stormwater Meetings, if they don't advertise the date and time of the meetings, are they really open? In fact, in light of today's Observer Dispatch article, we'd say they better be part of the regularly scheduled Planning Board meetings from here on out.
As a side note, after the Town Board meeting last week when Highway Superintendent Richard Sherman said there would be a Stormwater Committee meeting within the next week, Concerned Citizens sent two (2) emails to him asking for the date and time of the next Stormwater Meeting. We never even received the courtesy of a return email giving us the information.
The town website now lists the next meeting as Tuesday June 30th @ 05:30 p.m.held in Rodger C. Reynolds Room - Ground Floor of Butler Hall and THE MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!