Updated: 06/02/2014 5:18 PM
Created: 06/02/2014 11:21 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean
The owner of the Medley Centre is going to court over tax breaks. On Monday, Scott Congel filed a lawsuit against Monroe County’s development agency. The county, the town of Irondequoit and the school district want to stop giving tax breaks to the project at the former Irondequoit Mall because Congel has missed payment deadlines. Congel says they can’t do that.
The gist of the lawsuit is that the millions Congel still owes the county, the town and school district is illegal. So Congel says he shouldn't have to pay what they call supplemental payments. The school district says Congel’s team came up with the payment plan.
After two years, the tax break contract said Congel needed to invest $90 million into the mall. After three years, he needed to invest $165 million and $260 million after four years.
The county, the town of Irondequoit and the East Irondequoit School District say Congel owes millions in supplemental payments because he didn't meet those milestones. The lawsuit says those supplemental payments are illegal and a "shock to one's sense of fairness." News10NBC spoke to Congel exclusively last week.
Scott Congel, Medley Centre owner, said, “We've sat down many times to come up with a resolution. There seems to be something more to it than coming up with a financial solution to it. We've put many proposals on the table and they've turned many down.”
John Abbott, Assistant Superintendent, East Irondequoit Central School District, said, “It's not a surprise. It's also something we think is without merit.”
John Abbott is the Assistant Superintendent of East Irondequoit Schools. The district is one of the entities getting sued.
Berkeley Brean asked, “You're saying Congel came up with the idea of the supplemental payment structure.”
Abbott said, “He absolutely did.”
Brean asked, “So why do you think they would propose this as an idea and now say it's illegal?”
Abbott said, “I can't even speculate on that. It strikes me as odd.”
The county doesn't comment when it gets sued. The town of Irondequoit released a statement saying, “Five years ago, Mr. Congel signed an agreement with taxpayers - in exchange for significant tax breaks, he would invest in a multi-million dollar development at the former Irondequoit mall. Clearly, that investment has not been made, and terminating the PILOT agreement is an important step towards ensuring that taxpayers do not continue to subsidize a failed project.”