Coun­cil up­holds veto of prop­erty sale

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

The Com­mon Coun­cil has up­held a veto by Mayor Steve No­ble that blocked the sale of the prop­erty 416 First Ave. to a city em­ployee with­out a com­pet­i­tive auction.

The coun­cil on Tues­day voted 6-2 to up­hold the veto. Alder­women Deb­o­rah Brown, R-Ward 9, and Maryann Mills, D-Ward 7, voted to over­ride it. Alder­woman Nina Daw­son, DWard 4 was ab­sent.

The coun­cil last month au­tho­rized No­ble to al­low 15-year city em­ployee Allen Nace to buy the prop­erty for $15,000. A re­view by city lawyers, how­ever, found that the prop­erty had not been sub­jected to a com­pet­i­tive process of ei­ther putting it on the mar­ket or sell­ing it at auction.

“As far as I’m con­cerned, we screwed up,” said Alder­woman Lynn Eck­ert, DWard 1. “We did not cor­rectly go through the process prop­erly.”

Coun­cil mem­bers and Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel Kevin Bryant met for about 20 min­utes be­hind closed doors un­der a claim of at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege to re­view the veto prior to vot­ing.

City of­fi­cials ac­quired the prop­erty in March due to $26,430.84 in un­paid taxes. Nace of­fered to pay $15,000 for the prop­erty, which is as­sessed at $95,000 but has been van­dal­ized since it was aban-

doned about two years ago.

Fol­low­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing, Nace said the fail­ure to over­ride the veto was “a joke” be­cause a day ear­lier,

sev­eral coun­cil mem­bers said they should stand by the de­ci­sion to sell the prop­erty. He blamed Bryant for pres­sur­ing law­mak­ers to change their minds.

“You see the dif­fer­ence one night, and sev­eral ad­vise­ments from cor­po­ra­tion coun­sel,” he said. “... They

made a de­ci­sion, and then he changed that de­ci­sion.”

Bryant on Mon­day had ad­vised law­mak­ers that prop­erty sales need to be done through a com­pet­i­tive process.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, No­ble said Nace, who owns nearby prop­erty, would

have an­other op­por­tu­nity to buy the First Av­enue site.

“We’ll dis­cuss with coun­cil mem­bers whether we want to put it in our public auction that we’re hav­ing this fall or to of­fer it up again at a Fi­nance Com­mit­tee meet­ing,” the mayor said.

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