UPDATED: In what can only be called a Pyrrhic victory, the New Rochelle City Council came out of its second executive session in as many weeks to vote on the 14th extension of Capelli's LeCount Square MOU and approved the extension 4-3. This time, however, there were strings attached (see original post below).
VOTING on 14th MOU Extension for LeCount Square: Trangucci - NO; Stowe - YES; St. Paul - NO; Tarantino - NO; Fertel - YES; Sussman - YES; Bramson - YES
The air was definitely out of the Democrats balloon as Fertel, Sussamn and Bramson spoke of Capelli and LeCount in the past tense. Bramson looked like his dog just died.
ORIGINAL: City Council Unveils the Tables Terms of Capelli 14th MOU Extension on LeCount Square with Conditions....Developing...
The City Council tonight discussed proposed terms for a proposed 14th MOU Extension for the LeCount Square project but set the matter aside over concerns over whether the agreement provided the City sufficient protection in the event of litigation by Capelli against the City of New Rochelle.Read more
In an advisory opinion sought by the Talk of the Sound and published on June 10, 2010, the New York State Committee on Open Government has informed the City Council of New Rochelle that the given reason for going into executive session is not valid.
Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government writes:
...the Open Meetings Law is based on a presumption of openness, and meetings of public bodies must be conducted open to the public, except to the extent that an executive session may properly be conducted in accordance with paragraphs (a) through (h) of§ 105(1). Consequently,
a public body, such as a city council, cannot enter into an executive session to discuss the subject of its choice.
Freeman continues:Read more
Hannan Adley of the Journal News has published a brilliant story: In New Rochelle, five years in office gets health insurance in retirement. This is now the second time this year that the Journal News has scored with an article based on a FOIL request (the other was the security camera issue at the New Rochelle Public Library).
According to the article, no one seems to know when Joe Fosina, Fran Judge, Ruth Kitchen, Chris Selin, and Beuenia Brown are receiving taxpayer-funded health insurance. Kathy Gilwit is quoted saying "This practice had been in effect as long as anyone can remember until amended in 1998 to require an 18 percent contribution". Really? NO ONE KNOWS? I'll bet a nickel Len Paduano knows. I'll bet people who changed the practice to require that 18% contribution know. And I have little doubt that Joe Fosina, Fran Judge, Ruth Kitchen, Chris Selin, and Beuenia Brown know. That they are not quoted in the article speaks volumes.
Fosina, Judge, Kitchen and Selin paid nothing into the plan, Brown pays the 18% contribution. The insurance for the five costs $28,166 a year.Read more
There will be a debate tomorrow at 4 PM at Eastchester Town Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters between Democrat Greg Varian and Republican Sheila Marcotte. The two are competing in a special election to fill the 10th District seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. The special election was called after Democrat Vito Pinto vacated the seat to accept a position in the Astorino administration running the Veterans Service Agency and the Office of Drug Prevention and Stop-DWI.
Varian sent a campaign email warning of Republican dirty tricks and asking supporters to show and coordinate their questions with the campaign.
LWV Debate: Sunday, 4pm, Eastchester Town Hall
The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a debate this Sunday at 4pm. I could use your support in the room, especially since audience questions will make up the bulk of the debate. I've been warned that the Eastchester Republicans take these things very seriously: they will have an army of citizens ready to beat me over the head with out-of-context quotes and made-up statistics. So, naturally, we have to be ready.
The Kettner Campaign issues the following press release:
The Working Families Party has announced the designation of New Rochelle attorney Susan I. Kettner for City Court Judge in this year's election. Kettner was previously designated by the Democratic Party after a competition with 5 other candidates before the Democratic City Committee's District Leaders.
"Susan will make an excellent City Judge", said Patrick Welsh, County Chairman of the Working Families Party, and a South End New Rochelle resident. "Our party backs good candidates from both major parties - in past years we have endorsed Republicans such as Jim Maisano, Michael Boyle and Al Tarantino, along with Democrats like Jim Stowe, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. We think Susan fits the model we look for: hard working, accessible, with solid legal credentials and an appropriate judicial temperament."
Kettner supporters will be collecting petition signatures in both parties during the next few weeks. The five major parties (Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Independence and Working Families) will select their candidates through the petition process; independent ballot line petitioning will begin in July and August.Read more
The Westchester County Board of Legislators will hold a public hearing on a bill to allow county employees to join in the New York State Early Retirement Incentive Program on Monday June 14th otherwise known as the "Double Dipping" Program.
The intent of this bill to allow retiring county employees to double dip (i.e., to get the benefits of both the county voluntary separation plan and the New York State early retirement plan). With the State of New York teetering on the brink of insolvency, it sounds like the County Board of Legislators has come up with a great way to push New York over the edge and into the abyss.
Taxpayer groups and good government advocates will want to be on hand to watch as the pigs line up at the trough.
148 Martine Avenue (Court Street entrance)
8:30 AM (Monday June 14) to sign up to speak at this public hearing.Read more
An entity controlled by Louis Capelli made an unauthorized $700,000 loan to itself, according to Capelli's partner in the New Roc Entertainment Retail Center. As a result of the unauthorized loan, the investor, Entertainment Properties Trust (EPT), terminated the management agreement with the Capelli entity and seized all bank accounts related to the project. EPT subsequently installed CB Richard Ellis as the day to day manager of the property.
UPDATE: Louis Capelli has responded to our story here, Entertainment Properties Trust Grossly Misrepresented New Roc Deal to Wall Street Analysts Says Capelli, Demands Retraction
Capelli is a partner with Entertainment Properties Trust in New Roc City and, through an affiliate, was also the property manager. EPT began legal action against various Capelli legal entities in 1Q10, including New Roc City in New Rochelle, City Center in White Plains and the Concord Resort in upstate New York.Read more
The New Rochelle City Council made a surprise move this afternoon going into immediate Executive Session with Louis Capelli and representatives of Capelli Enterprises "as a matter of real estate". What makes the move so unusual is that neither Louis Capelli or Capelli Enterprisesown or control any real estate owned by the City of New Rochelle, raising serious questions as to whether the meeting is legal under the New York State Open Meeting Law.
§105. Conduct of executive sessions.
1. Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a public body may conduct an executive session for the below enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys:
a. matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed;
b. any matter which may disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent or informer;