East Irondequoit schools vote to take legal action against owners of Medley Centre

Updated: 06/17/2014 5:11 PM
Created: 06/17/2014 11:53 AM WHEC.com
By: Jennifer Mobilia

More trouble for the Medley Centre. The East Irondequoit School District is moving forward with legal action against the owners of the former Irondequoit Mall.

Monday night, the East Irondequoit school board unanimously approved moving forward with the legal action, claiming the Medley Centre owners, Bersin Properties, violated the PILOT agreement between the two. PILOT stands for "payment in lieu of taxes." Now, the school district wants to get that money back as well as other payments and fees charged.

East Irondequoit School District Deputy Superintendent John Abbott said, “It's unfortunate, there's a lot of money being spent and a lot of time being spent on litigation and the preparations for potential litigation instead of what we're here for which is to educate kids."

Abbott says the lawsuit, which will be filed in the coming weeks, will seek roughly $6-million, the amount of two supplemental payments the District says Bersin missed in January of this year and last. “Everybody in this town is really tired of this issue, tired of the Medley Centre sitting there undeveloped.”
Abbott says the District's lawsuit is in response to Bersin's lawsuit filed against the county, town and school district for revoking tax breaks under the PILOT program. “Obligations that are entered into freely and promises that are made must be kept and we've tried to communicate that to the developer over time and this is just one more step in that process.”

If the District is successful, what could this mean for taxpayers? Abbott said, “Right now nothing. There's a difference -- a difference between suing and collecting.  We have to get to that stage. Our budget is built on what we see there now, no development."

Tuesday afternoon Bersin Properties released a statement saying, “We have offered to sit down with the East Irondequoit Central School District to resolve our differences, move the project forward, and save the school unnecessary legal costs. Our prior offer of $6.4 million would result in over $2.6 million to the School District. We are however prepared to proceed judicially as we disagree with the demands being made by the School District."

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