Niagara Legislature shelves Mount View sale in face of lawsuit threat - The Buffalo News

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Niagara Legislature shelves Mount View sale in face of lawsuit threat

LOCKPORT – After a threat by an attorney for a rival assisted-living facility to sue the county, the Niagara County Legislature withdrew from its agenda the sale of the former Mount View Health Facility to a Youngstown assisted-living operator.

David M. Tosetto, who plans a 150-bed assisted-living facility, had a tentative agreement last year to pay $550,000. But the county was planning to reduce the price to $196,000 because Tosetto faces major expenses to remove asbestos from the five-story, 74-year-old building.

Guy J. Agostinelli, attorney for Briarwood Manor, a Lockport assisted-living facility, warned during the public comment period that Briarwood is willing to sue to block the sale.

“We’re interested in that property for that price,” he said, suggesting that the county should make the asbestos report public and seek bids.

Agostinelli contended that the county was required to place the property up for auction. County Attorney Claude A. Joerg said the county had it listed with a real estate agent. He said the law requires “public advertisement,” not auction.

“It was out for sale for five years,” Joerg told Agostinelli. “Your client didn’t make any offers.”

Agostinelli said Briarwood is willing to pay more than $196,000.

“Maybe Mr. Tosetti will win the bid. Our client is willing to pay more than that,” said Agostinelli, who mentioned $300,000 as a possible offer.

Joerg said that since the county closed Mount View as a nursing home at the end of 2007, Tosetto’s was the only written offer the county ever received. The 2012 sale contract allowed Tosetto to back out of the deal if the asbestos removal price was too high.

As a result of Tuesday’s development, the county attorney advised Tosetto that he would have to pay the original price tag of $550,000 for the facility, or the process would begin anew.

In other matters, the Legislature called on the Niagara Falls City Council to pass the Hamister Group hotel deal.

The Council has tabled approval of the project, promoted by businessman Mark Hamister, which would see the construction of a hotel on what is now a city-owned parking lot at 310 Rainbow Boulevard.

The Council majority believes the land is worth far more than the $100,000 Hamister agreed to pay for it.

In a resolution sponsored by Legislator Cheree J. Copelin, R-Niagara Falls, the Legislature endorsed the project, saying it would “create jobs, expand the tax base, promote the expansion of Niagara Falls’ tourism-based economy and result in an immediate investment of $22 million in private-sector monies by the Hamister Group.”

Also Tuesday, Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, announced the death Monday of David S. Broderick, 74, a Lewiston Republican who served as county treasurer from 1973 to 2010.

Ross led the Legislature in a moment of silence for Broderick, who was prominent in statewide organizations of chief fiscal officers.

In other matters, the Legislature:

• Extended the 8 percent sales tax for two more years, in the wake of the passage of a state law allowing it. The one additional percentage point must be spent on the county’s share of Medicaid.

• Endorsed the Town of Newfane’s request for $125,000 in Niagara River Greenway money for improvements at Krull Park Beach in Olcott.

• Granted low-cost electricity from the county’s Empower Niagara agency to two industries that are expanding. Diversified Manufacturing of Lockport was granted 200 kilowatts, and Defingen US of Wheatfield was approved for 150 kilowatts. The electricity came from the New York Power Authority under terms of the Niagara Power Project’s license.

• Ratified an agreement with the Wendelville Fire Company to construct a $33,200 handicapped-access ramp. The county will pay most of the cost, but the fire company will pay $3,500.


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