Back in July 2008, we blogged about that same piece of property, I cannot tell a lie...I believe it is for a buffer zone...
At that time we had been receiving tips on our Anonymous Tip Line regarding a piece of vacant land in the Village of New Hartford that was, at the time, owned by St. John's Church. Reportedly, someone, who was not being named at the time, was going to buy the church property on George Ave and donate it to the school.
After we received the tips, we made an appointment with Mr. Nole to get confirmation of the possible donation straight from the "horse's mouth".
Mr. Nole admitted that something like that was in the works. When we asked what the school plans to use the property for, he said it was his understanding that it will be a buffer zone between the school and the homes in the area of Bohling Road, Graham Ave, and Bonnie Lane.
We have since learned that Ashford-Clinton owned by Ms. Romano, counsel for Bond, Schoeneck & King and bond counsel for New Hartford Central School, bought the property for $14,000 on June 24, 2009...almost a year after we asked Mr. Nole about the property.
Now we learn that the property is not being donated, but rather the school intends to purchase the property, along with 29 Oxford Road, for a total cost of $244,000.
Hmm...Total paid by Ashford-Clinton Corp. [Linda Romano] for the two properties...$207,064 and they are now being sold to the school for $244,000.
What is more interesting is the recording document from the Oneida County Clerk's Office for the sale of the George Ave property to Ms. Romano. That document states that the deed, after being recorded, was to be returned to: Felt Evans Law Firm, 2-6 N. Park Row, Clinton, NY 13323.
Even more interesting is that Attorney Hallak, one of the partners of the Felt Evans Law Firm, is also an attorney for New Hartford Central School District. We happen to know that because we have done battle with Attorney Hallak many times over our Freedom of Information requests and the lack of responsiveness from the school.
This isn't the first time that Attorney Hallak has been involved with a piece of property that was reported to be a donation to the school and ended up being SOLD to New Hartford Central School by Ashford-Clinton, but we will get to that in another blog.
Anyway, it's rather odd that Ashford-Clinton and Felt Evans Law Firm would be involved in a land purchase that would eventually be sold to the school; particularly when both are doing business with the school as legal counsel.
By the way, Edmund J. Wiatr, Jr., a candidate for New Hartford school board, contacted Superintendent Nole by email yesterday morning to provide him with a copy of Robert Freeman's Opinion Letter that we included in our blog over the weekend. As you may recall, Mr. Freeman made it quite clear that "the amendments clearly are intended to prohibit agencies from unnecessarily delaying disclosure".
Superintendent Nole replied to Mr. Wiatr with the following:
Mr. Wiatr,We don't expect that the documents FOILed will be provided in a timely fashion, but we will release them on our blog as soon as they do become available.
Your requests have been provided to the Records Access Officer and are being processed in accordance with the NYS FOIL Statute. Information is forthcoming and a response was submitted to you indicating same.
To be continued...stay tuned!