Com­mon Coun­cil mulls veto over­ride for prop­erty sale

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By William J. Kemble news@free­manon­line.com

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> Com­mon Coun­cil mem­bers may vote Tues­day to over­ride a veto of the sale of a house at 416 First Ave. to a city em­ployee who owns nearby prop­erty.

The pro­posed sale was dis­cussed dur­ing a cau­cus Mon­day, with of­fi­cials say­ing the $15,000 sale was ap­proved by the coun­cil de­spite a process they ac­knowl­edged was ap­par­ently flawed.

Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel Kevin Bryant said opin­ions from the state at­tor­ney gen­eral ad­vise against sales of prop­erty to city em­ploy­ees with­out a com­pet­i­tive process.

“It rec­om­mends and states that there’s a con­flict of in­ter­est and this type of prop­erty should not be sold to a city em­ployee,” he said.

In the Dec. 28, 1978, opin­ion pro­vided to Port Jervis of­fi­cials, the at­tor­ney gen­eral wrote that “even an au­tho­rized sale of city real prop­erty at pri­vate sale tends to pro­duce spec­u­la­tion as to whether there was col­lu­sion in reach­ing an agree­ment on the sales price. We feel that it is prefer­able to avoid a pri­vate sale on real prop­erty ac­quired by a city at tax sale un­less and un­til it has been demon­strated that the prop­erty can­not be sold for a sat­is­fac­tory con­sid­er­a­tion at pub­lic auc­tion or by sealed bids.”

Among dis­putes over the pro­posed sale was whether all coun­cil mem­bers had in­for­ma­tion that $26,430.84 in back taxes is owed on the prop­erty and that the prop­erty has a $95,000 as­sessed value.

Of­fi­cials said the prop­erty had been ac­quired through tax seizure in March and never of­fered for sale through real es­tate listings.

Al­der­man at Large James Noble said that the pro­posed sale was pushed through the Com­m­mon Coun­cil be­cause of­fi­cials wanted to avoid fur­ther da­m­age to a house that had re­cently been van­dal­ized. “That’s the ur­gency to al­ways try and get rid of prop­erty be­fore win­ter comes,” he said.

Allen Nace, who has been a city em­ployee for 15 years, said he had been fol­low­ing the fate of the prop­erty dur­ing the two years since it was aban­doned by for­mer own­ers Ge­orge and Anne Con­ley. He told coun­cil mem­bers that he would like to ren­o­vate the prop­erty for use by ei­ther his daugh­ter or mother-in-law, but could not com­pete with peo­ple who might sub­mit bids at an auc­tion.

“At pub­lic auc­tion, if it’s just a mat­ter of (an ad­di­tional) $5,000 ... (to) $20,000, I’m not go­ing to get it,” he said. “I don’t have the money that peo­ple who come to these auc­tions have, I don’t have fi­nan­cial back­ers that are will­ing to out­bid the lit­tle guy sit­ting next to them.”

Me­gan Weiss-Rowe, spokes­woman for Mayor Steve Noble, said the veto was taken be­cause of “purely a pro­ce­dural is­sue.”

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