For the latest news, see the St.
Paul's Sentinel Newsletter
July 11, 2006 - Court Ruling Reveals Trustees'
June 6, 2006 - Committee to Save St. Paul's
May 17, 2006 - Lawsuit Uncovers Shameless Deception
by Village Officials
January 12, 2006 - What's Behind the St. Paul's
Private Development Plan?
Ruling Allows Residents to See How They Are Being Betrayed by Their
July 11, 2006
before the past holiday weekend, the judge assigned to the St. Paul’s
lawsuit issued a ruling that the Village’s consulting contract
with K. Backus & Assoc. for the marketing of St. Paul’s
was not “entirely illegal”. However, the judge emphasized
“no sale -- conditional, contingent, or otherwise -- can occur,
or will occur, absent the requisite [state] legislative approval.”
Furthermore, he acknowledged that the Legislative approval process
“is complex and difficult” and that the Village’s
marketing strategy “can be viewed as unwise or inopportune.”
importantly, the judge freed the plaintiffs to reveal documentary
evidence, evidence the Village has been trying to suppress, of the
Board’s efforts to deceive the public about its ultimate true
condo development plan. Here are highlights of what the Village
has been concealing:
“C Plan” we were never told about
In a confidential report to the trustees last November, Village
consultant K. Backus recommended demolition of nearly the entire
historic structure, leaving only the façade, with a massive
“C” shaped new building replacing the elegant “E”
shaped footprint of the existing edifice. They even contemplated
erecting a new fifth floor. The consultant advised that only the
C plan was likely to succeed and that development within the existing
“E” footprint was deemed highly risky and likely to
Trustee Mauk, chairperson of the condo committee, knew that this
C recommendation, calling for more density and the demolition of
virtually all the most important historical features inside the
building, would be met with public opposition. So, prior to the
public December 15 presentation, he told the consultants, in writing,
to keep quiet about it and pretend the C plan didn’t exist.
In an email dated December 5, 2005, at 6:32 PM from his office at
CB Richard Ellis, the real estate development firm, he instructed
those participating in the presentation to “not breathe this
as the direction for the future.” At another point he tells
them, “We don’t even want to mention the C option”
as part of the public presentation to be made in a few days.
tells the consultants he wants them to “plant the idea for
now that some minimal new construction may be required,” thereby
hiding the true scope of the construction.
Backus wrote a confirming, and equally damning email to her cohorts
the day before the December presentation. On December 14, at 12:14
PM she wrote:
not going to be fun, as we have to walk a fine line between saying
the redevelopment within the envelope is feasible BUT
SETTING PEOPLE UP FOR US TO COME BACK, AFTER TALKING TO THE DEVELOPMENTCOMMUNITY
WITH A REDEVELOPMENT PLAN THAT MAY INVOLVE CONTROVERSIAL AND UNWANTED
THINGS LIKE NEW CONSTRUCTION OR INFILL…[emphasis
there we have it. The people were being set up through a deceptive
Dec. 15 presentation regarding a development scenario that the consultant
and Trustee Mauk knew would involve either a high risk of failure
or unwanted extensive development and construction.
property is worth at least $20,000,000
But they didn’t want to tell us!
deception went further.
a resident at the December 15 meeting asked how much the St. Paul’s
property was worth, the Board and its consultants deceived us again.
What they did not reveal was that they already had in their possession
an appraisal from a prominent real estate firm, Grubb & Ellis,
which valued the historic building and 7 surrounding acres at $20
million! (Oct. 13 email from Karen Backus).
Now, why didn’t the Board want us to know that? They claimed
in their court papers that revealing the appraisal would hurt their
negotiations with developers. But developers already knew all too
well what the property is worth. No, they tried to hide this $20,000,000
number from the residents because they didn’t want people
to know how much of a steal the sale of St. Paul’s would be
for a developer if he could get his hands on it for much less than
market value. They also knew that this appraisal of $20 million
will be a major issue in dealing with the Parkland designation of
the property. If the Village does not obtain full, fair market value
from the chosen developer, you, the taxpayers, will have to make
up the difference if the Village is to have any hope of obtaining
State Legislative Approval under NYS Parkland Alienation Guidelines.
The documents summarized above prove convincingly that the Village’s
statements and assertions about the plan for St. Paul’s cannot
be trusted. They have another agenda. The Trustees have violated
the trust we have placed in them, and regrettably, some of them
are acting as pawns for commercial developers.
Committee to Save St. Paul’s expects to show the residents
an alternative plan for St. Paul’s in the early Fall. That
plan will be fiscally affordable and will incorporate considerable
public use. In the meantime, we urge all residents to express their
unhappiness with the direction this Board is going. We believe it
is time for some of our Trustees to face the fact that selling out
to developers is wrong and is a breach of public trust.