This morning, the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency began the process of terminating the Medley Centre tax agreement. A press release from Monroe County says that COMIDA has "issued a notice of PILOT default to Medley Centre's developer."
Yesterday, Bersin Properties failed to make a $3.8 million payment to COMIDA. The money would have been split among the Town of Irondequoit, East Irondequoit School District, and the county. The company did make a small, partial payment, but that didn't keep COMIDA from finding Bersin in default.
"Attorneys from COMIDA and all government partners involved met this morning to begin the process of holding the developer accountable for all monies owed under the PILOT agreement," County Executive Maggie Brooks said in the press release. "Monroe County considers this the commencement of legal action and, to avoid impacting potential litigation, we will be withholding further comment until a final resolution is met.”
Bersin Properties has a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the three governments, which lets the company make annual payments that are far below what it’d otherwise pay in property taxes.
But Bersin failed to make the $392,381 annual payment, which was due earlier this year, until yesterday. And the company didn't pay the approximately $3.5 million in penalties it owes because of missed investment targets; Bersin agreed to the investment targets and the penalties when it entered into the PILOT. Local governments gave the developer until 5 p.m. on May 1 to pay the full amount it owed.
"They clearly did not comply with what was required," Brooks told reporters this morning during an event at the Greater Rochester International Airport.
In a letter to COMIDA, Bersin Properties partner James Giuliano wrote that the company isn't willing to pay the $3.5 million because "we believe there are substantial legal impediments to our making such payment." But he didn't identify those impediments.
This morning, Brooks said she isn't clear what Giuliano is referring to, either. But the Medley Centre project could become a tangle of lawsuits. Already, Bersin Properties is suing its former lender for withdrawing its financing for the Medley project a few years ago. And the local governments say they could sue to recover the full amount they say they're owned, but Bersin could also sue COMIDA and the local governments for terminating the tax agreement.