Updated: 04/28/2014 5:16 PM
Created: 04/28/2014 10:57 AM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri
News10NBC is learning new developments in the ongoing saga over the Medley Centre project at the former Irondequoit mall has received millions of dollars in tax breaks. The developer is facing fines for missing key project deadlines. Now, we’ve learned the developer, Bersin Properties, filed a lawsuit against a Japanese bank, claiming the bank delayed the start of construction.
The lawsuit is almost 20 pages. Many people feel it is just about developer Scott Congel and Bersin Properties saving face. The lawsuit points blame at a Japanese bank, Nomura, for the delay in construction at the Medley Centre.
In a statement from Bersin Properties, the company said, “"We are relieved to finally be able to tell our side of the story as to what caused delays in construction of our project. This is the story of a Japanese bank that intentionally withdrew financing of an important Public/Private Economic Development & Job Creation project in Rochester during the Great Recession. This filing will allow us to explain to Irondequoit residents what the real cause of delay is. We look forward to being able to disclose this with the community in greater detail and can now begin to do that. Our primary objective continues to be moving this project forward and beginning construction. This step moves us in that direction. Over the next few weeks, we will be updating the community on our progress to advance this project and complete it."
The lawsuit claims the Japanese bank, after agreeing to provide loans for the project, refused on a number of occasions in 2008 and 2009 to give the company millions of dollars. Now Bersin Properties is suing for $100 million, saying the lack of development has hurt the community in Irondequoit. Bersin got tax breaks from the town, county and school district.
The assistant superintendent for the East Irondequoit School District says this lawsuit has nothing to do with the fact. They believe Congel has not met his part of the PILOT agreement.
John Abbott, Assistant Superintendent of East Irondequoit Schools, said, “Our argument is that his relationship with his lenders is his business. As a business man, that's his responsibility. We don't have a relationship with his lender; we don't have a relationship with any of his contractors. We don't have a relationship with any prospective tenants. Our relationship is with him, and he is the one who had guaranteed his part of the PILOT agree, to perform.”
It seems the school district, town of Irondequoit and Monroe County all agree this lawsuit does not relieve Bersin Properties from its obligations to pay property tax. This all comes just days before the deadline when the company could lose tax breaks. Almost four million dollars in late property tax payments is still due by May 1, which is Thursday.
The bank now has about 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.