East Irondequoit school district and Town of Irondequoit officials are starting to talk tough to Medley Centre developer Scott Congel.
At issue is a past-due $3.5 million penalty payment that Congel — through his company, Bersin Properties — was supposed to make to the district, town, and Monroe County Industrial Development Agency. The payment was due February 1, but Congel missed the deadline. In a strongly-worded letter to Congel, which is attached at the end of this post, officials tell Congel he needs to pay up by May 1, or the town and district will ask COMIDA to terminate the incentive agreement (only COMIDA has the power to do that).
The letter also says that Congel is past due on his $392,381 annual PILOT payment, and that he must also make that payment by May 1.
The penalty stems from a provision of Congel's payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with the three government bodies. Last year, he failed to meet a $165 million investment milestone spelled out in the PILOT agreement. The pact specifies financial penalties for missing any of the milestones.
On January 31, Congel made an offer to pay the penalty, but only under certain conditions, says the local officials' letter. He offered to pay on the date he closes on financing or six months after he, the town, the school district, and COMIDA agree on a revised PILOT agreement. Officials rejected that offer. From the letter:
"Based on the Company’s non-performance of similar conditional payments in the past (i.e. failure to pay the Agency’s $2,040,000 closing fee and failure to pay the Town $500,000, both of which were due in April 2009), however, this type of conditional payment structure is not acceptable to the Affected Tax Jurisdictions. The Affected Tax Jurisdictions cannot entertain new terms until Bersin Properties, LLC, honors its existing commitments to the taxpayers of Irondequoit."
The lack of progress at Medley is a sore subject in Irondequoit, as is Congel's failure to maintain the property. The tensions between Congel and the community spiked after a pipe burst inside the mall earlier this winter.
"The continued neglect and deterioration of Medley Centre cannot continue to damage the image of the Town of Irondequoit," Supervisor Adam Bello said in a press release. “Mr. Congel must understand that the people of Irondequoit and Monroe County have invested much on this project — the time has come for Mr. Congel to do the same."
Bello also says that the letter and the ultimatum will either serve as an impetus for Mr. Congel to live up to his promises or will be the first step to ensure that more tax money isn't invested in the project.
The letter opens with officials saying they're disappointed that Congel canceled a January 30 meeting to discuss the status of financing of the project and the overdue payments.
Enclosure - Letter to Bersin Properties, LLC by jmouleatcity